The CFL has fined the Saskatchewan Roughriders $60,000 and reduced the team’s salary cap by $26,000 for practicing with ineligible players.
According to a release issued by the league, the penalties come after an investigation “spanning several weeks” that included visits to team practices in Regina. The league found that the team used ineligible players in practice, including those on the six-game injured list and players not under contract.
“As Commissioner, I am compelled to make decisions consistent with protecting the competitive balance within our League, the spirit of our rules and the integrity of our game,” CFL Commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement. “The recent conduct, behaviour and activities of the Saskatchewan Roughriders have compromised the reputation of the CFL.”
While the league may have been investigating the Riders for some time, it was Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell who brought the issue to light with a series of tweets on Tuesday night. 3DownNation then reported that the Riders were using up to 95 players in practice and paying unsigned players between $300 and $1,000 a week in a so-called “pre-practice squad.”
TSN’s Dave Naylor reported that the fine was the maximum possible that the commissioner could levy.
$60K ‘Rider fine represents largest amount CFL could hand down. $25K at Commissioner’s discretion plus $35K for several rule violations.
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) August 11, 2016
But CFL constitution also gives the commissioner the power to suspend “any Player, coach, employee, official or team executive” for behaviour that”brings disrepute to the League or the game of football.”
Initial reaction to the fine was generally negative, with many believing the league did not go far enough in punishing the Riders.
@scratchingpost that’s it??? Not harsh enough. Someone should have been suspended.
— Ryan Bomben (@Rbomben) August 11, 2016
— Deb Strickland (@DebStrickland65) August 11, 2016
This is terrifying.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) August 11, 2016
Are we not supposed to point out the irony of these fines is that the Riders will probably end up saving money?! No. Okay. Carry on. #CFL
— Jock Cartier (@JockCartier) August 11, 2016
#CFL getting serious about Riders roster violations. Sixty grand fine, this time. That’ll be a night of beer sales at the new stadium.
— Paul Friesen (@friesensunmedia) August 11, 2016
— Tim Baines (@TimCBaines) August 11, 2016
Even Rider fans seemed to think they got off light…
— Fake GAINER (@fakeGAINER) August 11, 2016