For the first time ever, and likely the last time, I uttered the phrase "Thank You Jim Hopson" this weekend. It was shaping up to be another slow week news-wise in the CFL and I was getting dangerously close to having to pull a Rod Pedersen and simply copy and paste an article from another site. But Jim came through for me by releasing the Riders financial information for the 2007 season.
The big question on everyone's mind was "what was our salary cap situation?" Eric Tillman confirmed a while back that we were going to be over the $4.05 million salary cap that came into effect this season, we just didn't know by how much. Speculation ran wild. Were we way over the cap? Would we lose a draft pick? Could it be that a team that had been in favour of implementing the cap to level the playing field would be the biggest offenders? Could the Leafs pull off a miracle and make it to the post-season? Fortunately, the answer to all of these questions was no.
In the end, we exceeded the cap by $54,330, which isn't really that bad when you consider that we were rumoured to be as much as $1 million over before the '07 season. Last offseason, Eric Tillman went on a payroll cutting venture that would put the Florida Marlins to shame but it appears to have paid off. Plus, despite enduring more injuries this past season than any other team, we managed to be over the cap roughly by the price of one back-up player. So this leads me to the obvious conclusion that being over the cap is entirely Henri Childs' fault. Had he not been on our roster we likely would have been better off (both financially and athletically).
The end result is that we have to pay a fine of $54,330, which is a small price to pay since we posted record profits of $1.7 million this year fueled by 8 sell-out games, a home-playoff game and strong merchandise sales. Times sure have changed. 10-20 years ago, the only way we would have been able to pay a fine of that size would have been to organize a provincial bake sale/charity polka marathon. But now... Ha! Big Jim just whips out his wallet and asks if the league wants 50s or 100s.
The Riders now have to decide what to do with the surplus cash. There’s the usual talk of stadium improvement and increased seating capacity, but there’s also been some outside the box thinking. So let me present to you …
The Top 10 Uses for the Rider Surplus
10 – Some Rider profits should go to the Rider Prophet (it just fits too nicely)
9 – Buy Gainer a pair of pants
8 – Go to the casino, put it all on Red and hope to walk out with a $3.4 million profit.
7 – Bake muffins for all season ticket holders
6 – Put a mob hit out on Andre Proulx
5 – Make excessive use of a “100 Tacos for $100” deal
4 – Tamper with a few players just for fun
3 – Establish a “Tillman Can Say What He Wants In ‘08” fund to pay for fines
2 – Frontlyne Reunion Tour
1 – “First beer’s on Hopson Night” at Mosaic Stadium