Roughriders only team to surpass salary cap in 2008

Once again the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to have to pay for being bitten hard by the injury bug.

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Once again the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to have to pay for being bitten hard by the injury bug.

The CFL released results of the annual audit of its eight member teams Tuesday, and the Roughriders were the only club to exceed the $4.2-million salary cap in ’08.

The audit revealed Saskatchewan exceeded the cap by $87,147 and as a result will have to pay a fine of that amount to the league. Injuries were the primary reason why the Riders went over the cap. At one point last season the team had upwards of 20 regulars on its injured list.

In 2007, the Riders won the Grey Cup but exceeded the cap by $76,552 — again due mainly to injuries — and had to pay a fine of that amount as well.

Since the Riders didn’t exceed the cap by more than $100,000 in either year, they weren’t forced to give up a first-round draft pick.

CFL teams are fined $1 for every dollar up to $100,000 that they’re over the cap.

The penalty goes up to $2 for every dollar from $100,001 to $300,000 over, plus the loss of a first-round pick.

Teams that exceed the cap by more than $300,000 are fined $3 for every dollar over and also lose their first- and second-round draft choices.

The Riders don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, so had they been more than $100,000 over the cap, they would’ve forfeited their first available pick this year and continued to do so until they lost a first-round selection. As well, Saskatchewan would’ve been unable to include any draft picks in a trade until they gave up a first-rounder.

Last season, the Montreal Alouettes finished $108,285 over the cap. They were fined $116,570 and they also lost the fourth pick overall in the ’08 draft.

This marks the second straight year the CFL has publicly announced cap transgressions and subsequent penalties. In previous years there were always serious questions not only about whether teams stuck to the cap but if penalties were administered for violations.

“The Salary Management System (SMS) continues to work in the best interests of our game and our fans, providing teams with cost certainty at the same time we provide Canadians with great football,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement. “It is ensuring our league operates on a sustainable business model, and that’s in the best long-term interests of our league and our players.”

In 2009, the CFL’s salary cap will remain at $4.2 million per team.

As a result of no franchise surpassing the cap by more than $100,000, the order for the CFL Canadian College Draft on May 2 will remain intact.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have the first and third overall picks with Toronto at No. 2.

The B.C. Lions will have the No. 4 through No. 6 selections, then Montreal and the Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders will complete the opening round.

Saskatchewan, the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers don’t have first-round selections.

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