Published on April 28, 2008 10:34 PM by dbo.
The CFL announced today the results of the league’s 2007 Salary Management System audit on all clubs. Six of eight clubs adhered to the SMS while the Saskatchewan Roughriders were fined for exceeding the cap by less than $100,000 and the Montreal Alouettes were fined and lost their first round draft pick (4th overall) in the 2008 Canadian college draft for exceeding the cap by more than $100,000.
Early leaked reports reported correctly that both Saskatchewan and Montreal were over the cap and the level of punishment they were to receive. globesports.com also correctly reported that Montreal was taking a decision to include defensive lineman Steve Charbonneau’s salary to arbitration. It was announced Monday Montreal lost the arbitration case, resulting in the Alouettes being $108,285 over the $4.05 million cap. Exceeding the cap by $100,000 caused Montreal to forfeit their first pick in the 2008 Canadian draft, scheduled for Wednesday, April 30. This resulted in all teams moving up one position and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats be granted the eighth and final pick of the first round as a result of their waiver priority due to holding the worst record in the league last year. This process was objected to by some teams who felt they too deserved to benefit from their adherence to the Salary Expenditure Cap, and a proposal to limit the first round to seven picks and see Hamilton make the final and 48th selection of the draft was made. Since the provisions of the SMS included the process for lost draft picks and this was approved by all teams last year, it appears that their oversight into potential imbalance in the distribution of draft picks will have to be corrected after this year, as the agreed to process stands.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders also lost an injured player arbitration, bringing their overage to $76,552, about $22,000 more than their reported $54,000 dollar-for-dollar SMS fine they reported in their financial statements. Roughrider General Manager Eric Tillman expressed support for the cap, but said the league’s highest number of injuries led to them exceeding the cap.
Somewhat surprisingly the CFL reversed it’s decision on the transparency of the results of the SMS audit. Mark Cohon has taken a large step in building fan trust in the system and the compliance of member franchises with this announcement. Faced with a lost draft pick and six of eight teams compliant, however, there was little reason to keep the results secret. Still unknown is the destination of the fines, though. Do they go into general CFL coffers to be distributed back to member clubs, just the SMS adhering clubs, the budget to run the league office or some other initiative?