The idea of a university sports festival was first brought forward in 1980 by Mr. Lesley Handunge, who was the director of Physical Education at the University of Peradeniya. Mr. Handunge was a skilled sportsman himself, who had represented Sri Lanka in the Olympics and had led the Sri Lankan team at the World University Sports Festival. He was keen to organize a university sports championship among the local institutions in line with the standards of the Olympic Games. This suggestion resulted in the first Sri Lanka University Sports Festival, held at the University of Peradeniya, with the participation of six universities in 20 sporting events.
Today, it is known as the Sri Lanka University Games, with 14 universities participating in it. Eleven SLUG championships have been held up to now since its inception, with the exception of the year 1989.
At present, the SLUG is hosted once in every three years by one of the participating universities. During its course, 35 events are held under 22 sporting categories. The last SLUG was organized by the University of Moratuwa, and the championship was won by the University of Moratuwa.