the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the lone team to exceed the salary cap in 2014. This is Hamilton's first time over the cap, joining Winnipeg (2009) and Montreal (2007) as one-time offenders. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the only other team to exceed the cap, having done so four times (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013) since its institution in 2007.
Now, the sum was small, but that still does not get the Ti-Cats off the hook for spending above the allowable amount. The team can say all they want about injuries and all-stars (and sure, going from zero league all stars in 2013 to three in 2014, and five division all-stars to 10, plus the slew of injuries probably did play a role), but it is still pretty inexcusable for the team to violate the league's cap.
But problem isn't just that teams go over; it is that they can go over in the first place. If the league wants to stop teams from going over, they should simply not let them. The NFL and NHL don't allow teams to exceed the cap, so the CFL could do the same. Otherwise, you will continue to see teams spend above the number. The penalties to do so, at least until you go $100,000 over, are simply not harsh enough. If the league really wants teams to not spend over the cap, either not allow them to or harshen the penalties. Neither one of those outcomes is likely, so where do we go from here?
And maybe we, as fans and followers of the CFL, need to change our attitudes towards the cap. For starters, we should probably stop referring to it as a salary cap. It isn't one. There is no cap on salaries in the CFL, similar to how there isn't one for NBA or MLB teams. Yes, there is a number in all three leagues that teams are not supposed to spend above, but all three leagues allow for teams to exceed that number provided they pay a penalty. When the Yankees or Lakers overspend, no one really kicks up much of a complaint. Sure, you get the outcry of them trying to buy a championship, but it isn't like the teams that overspend always win. In fact, only Saskatchewan has won the Grey Cup in a year they overspent, doing so twice (2007, 2013).
I am as guilty as anyone of ranting and raving when a team spends above the allowable amount, but perhaps I was wrong. Maybe we need to accept the CFL's Salary Management System for what it is (a luxury tax) and not what we want it to be (a hard cap) and start looking at it through an NBA or MLB lens as opposed to an NFL or NHL one.