The university's sports teams are known as the Waterloo Warriors. They participate in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport's Ontario University Athleticsconference for most varsity sports. Varsity teams include badminton, baseball, basketball, cross country, curling, field hockey, figure skating, Canadian football, golf, hockey, Nordic skiing, rugby, soccer, squash, swimming, track and field, tennis and volleyball. The athletics program at the university dates back to 1957, when students of Waterloo College Associate Faculties participated in the sports program of Waterloo College (present-day Wilfrid Laurier University). The university had its own independent team when the Associate Faculties officially became the University of Waterloo. The university's varsity teams and the university's recreational sports programs are operated and managed by the Department of Athletics and Recreational Activity.
The university has a number of athletic facilities open to the varsity teams and to the other students. The stadium with the largest seating capacity at the university is Warrior Field. The field is home to the varsity field hockey and football teams, and hosts the university's recreational flag football and soccer activities. It has a seating capacity of 5,400. Other facilities include the Physical Activity Complex, which houses two gymnasiums, beach volleyball courts, squash rooms, and a swimming pool, and is also home to the university's varsity badminton, basketball, squash, swimming and volleyball teams. The Columbia Ice Field was constructed in 1983 and houses the university's hockey team home rink, with a seating capacity of 700. The Ice Field has been expanded twice, in 1990 and 2003, and now includes three gyms and a number of fitness centres. Including the football field, the university manages seven outdoor playing fields, with Fields 1 and 2 reserved for the varsity soccer and rugby teams. The rest of the fields are used by the university's recreational sports programs.