Every team in the Canadian Football League, including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, played by the salary cap rules for the first time ever during the 2011 season.
The CFL announced Thursday afternoon that for the first time since a salary cap was introduced in 2007, all eight CFL teams managed to stay under it in 2011. The salary cap was $4.3 million in 2011. It will rise slightly to $4.35 million this season.
"The success of our Salary Management System underlines our teams’ commitment to putting a great product on the field and following sound business principles at the same time," Commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement Thursday.
"The work our Board of Governors and our football leaders have done on this issue is an important building block in our league’s strong foundation."
The news that Winnipeg did not exceed the cap in 2011 doesn’t come as a surprise. Club COO Jim Bell told a news conference on Monday -- called to announce the Bombers had recorded a record profit in 2011 -- that the team came in "just under" the salary cup in 2011.
The CFL enforces its cap with a detailed audit system that sees field audits conducted once during the season and a second time after the season is over. Teams are also required to submit detailed salary updates to the league at the 6-game, 12-game and 18-game marks of the regular season.
Penalties are stiff for violators. Teams are fined one dollar for every dollar they exceed the cap up to $100,000; two dollars for every dollar they exceed the cap between $100,000-$300,000, plus the forfeiture of their first round draft pick the following spring; and three dollars for every dollar they exceed the cap beyond $300,000, plus the forfeiture of their first two draft picks.
With no violators last season, the upcoming CFL draft on May 3 will take place in the order everyone was expecting:
1. Saskatchewan Roughriders.
2. Edmonton Eskimos (via trade with Toronto).
3. Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
4. British Columbia Lions (via trade with Montreal).
5. Calgary Stampeders.
6. Edmonton Eskimos.
7. Forfeited by the Bombers when they took Kito Poblah in last year’s supplemental draft.
8. British Columbia Lions.