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Unread 11-12-2017, 06:34 PM
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VAR for FRC

In the thread "How the rules can discourage dangerous behavior," many posters feel that mistakes have been made in the application of the rules which led to changed match or tournament outcomes. In specific, many posters reference events happening at Southern Cross Regional in which an alliance was given consecutive yellow cards and subsequently knocked out of playoff rounds. While these decisions seem easy to dissect now, there is often no chance for referees to correct mistakes while an event is still in progress.

In the past, the Chief Delphi community has been split on the idea of allowing video footage of matches to be shown to referees and field staff in order to argue questionable calls. Those in support believe that video will allow the correct calls to be made and for mistakes to be made. However, it has generally been the position of FIRST that video replays can be misleading and hugely time-consuming. In addition, the use of video replay gives an unfair advantage to teams with the resources to film their matches. In recent years, however, FIRST has made great strides in the quality and availability of official webcast footage for events.

I would like to propose a new Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for use in FIRST.

The VAR would only be used in elimination matches and only be used for decisions involving:
- Scoring Plays
- Yellow or Red Cards
- Field-Initiated Disables
- Penalties
- Mistaken Identity (ie a yellow card shown to the wrong team)

The following process would be used for the VAR:

1. After a match, when a team believes that a team believes an incorrect call was made they will go to the question box.
2. The head referee will hear their question and if the decision meets the above criteria, will instruct another referee to review footage.
3. This referee will view only official webcast footage and will do so from a monitor set up at the scoring table.
4. If the reviewing referee believes that the video shows a "clear and obvious error" then he or she will ask the head referee to also review the footage
5. If both the reviewing referee and the head referee agree that a "clear and obvious error" has been made, they will make a determination as to an effect on match outcome.
6. If the head referee believes that there was a "clear and obvious error" which affected the outcome of the match, it will be replayed.
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Unread 11-12-2017, 06:49 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC



I donít see how this idea is substantially different from any other video replay idea. I could theoretically get behind video replay only for reversing cards or disables*, but once you start to get to penalties and such, I think youíll just end up having people coming with video every match. Once or twice in a competition is fine. If itís something that happens every other match (and you know it will because weíre dealing with competitive high school students here), youíre just making a big headache for the referees.


*this of course only if the GDC can design a game where cards arenít given out like candy on Halloween
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Unread 11-12-2017, 07:17 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

If you want to keep the ability for game altering fouls to be replayed, than perhaps each team can only have 1 replay card (during quals). During elims, each alliance gets 1-2 replay cards. The referee for this position would also have to be filming the match (or use the full field match stream), teams still can't bring their own video.

Though I understand the point about possibly incorrect foul calls changing the outcome of a game, it would be better to only allow replays for cards.
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Unread 11-12-2017, 07:35 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

Oh wow, another thread about video review. I'm sure this thread will beat a dead horse reveal wonderful new insight.
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Unread 11-12-2017, 08:16 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

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Originally Posted by Brian Maher View Post
Oh wow, another thread about video review. I'm sure this thread will beat a dead horse reveal wonderful new insight.
Yep. And I've said for a few years that people that are proponents to go to off season events and try it out. That would give a chance to see it in a "test environment" and build some actual numbers (how may time it was used, did it change the call, etc.) to build a foundation of change. I think I said things like "as the lone science guy here, hard numbers would help", but in the new, nicer CD I won't say that this time.

It's like the "can I have a dog, we'll take care of it". Yep, here is the stuffed dog and you need to walk it for 15 mins 4 times a day, make sure the water and food bowls are full, etc. cause I can go by the bowl and dump the water and food out.

Actions count, typed characters on CD, not so much.
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Unread 11-12-2017, 09:46 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

To be fair, this is one of the better suggestions for instant replay I've seen, in my personal opinion.
--There's a reasonable restriction on what can be reviewed.
--There's a reasonable restriction on when reviews can happen.
--There's a very reasonable restriction on video sourcing.

However, in order to work, at least one thing needs to happen, first, before anything else on the list. Any guesses?

Better streamed video. That's right folks, the video quality needs to improve. In many cases, the video on the stream is, well, webcast-quality and rather grainy. That's not always the case, of course; there are several areas where the stream quality is probably good enough to use.

From one of the volunteer roles showing on the FIRST site, I would say that that is being worked on, in some areas. But, it's far from being the norm.

The other part is having a referee available. That... might not be as difficult as you might think. Or it might be harder. But they've got to know what to look for.


If I was on the operations crew for an offseason event, I wouldn't mind doing a trial run. I'm not (currently--though I suspect that'll be changing this next year), and this sort of thing would need time to put together, and buy-in from other folks running the event.
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Unread 11-12-2017, 10:00 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

Let me start off by saying, just because a topic has already been discussed (ad nauseam or not), it does not mean there is never room to propose new ideas or solutions and discuss further, especially since, as to my knowledge, large progress has not yet been made on this subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AriMB View Post
If itís something that happens every other match (and you know it will because weíre dealing with competitive high school students here), youíre just making a big headache for the referees.
So, say we are going by the OP's rule of only using this during elimination rounds. If your concern is that this provision will be abused too much, what would you say if we tie this in with the alliance's Time Out card? Then each alliance only has one shot to use it, and the competition will already be paused? In theory, since the head referee will not need to be watching a match, they can just watch the video footage. If the match is no more than 2:30, the 6(?) minute timeout would be enough to watch the match, re-watch parts that need to be rewatched, and discuss what needs to be done.

It's not a perfect solution, but food for thought.
I will echo Eric's post, that video quality and process would need to be far improved for this to even be remotely viable.
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Unread 11-13-2017, 12:02 AM
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Re: VAR for FRC

Quote:
Originally Posted by AriMB View Post
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foster View Post
...
To your point, video review actually has been done in offseason events. You can read about it here and here. However, using an extremely small sample size will never adequately predict the effects of video replay. It is hard to argue that a large sample size of events is needed when a typical team will not even play more than 20 matches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricH View Post
...
As usual, Eric brings up some good points. FIRST has made and continues to make huge strides in video streaming for events. In fact, FIRST funded and implemented webcasting at many events this past season. You can read the blog post about it here. HQ plans to continue rolling out this webcasting system. Very soon, not having good enough video will not be an excuse for not using a VAR system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AriMB View Post
If it’s something that happens every other match (and you know it will because we’re dealing with competitive high school students here), you’re just making a big headache for the referees.
Eric also mentioned the stress this system would put on referees. In the current system, only the head referee will be a part of every match. The rest of the field referees are rotated between referee stations and given breaks. At most events, there are at least 2 referees on break who would be available to look at match video.

The way I imagine VAR being implemented it would add no additional time between matches. Students already go and argue with the head referee in the question box. That won't change but the video review will happen simultaneously to the students being in the questions box. That being said, I do think that limiting the amount of "challenges" a team gets in playoffs may be worthwhile.
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Last edited by piersklein : 11-13-2017 at 12:11 AM.
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Unread 11-13-2017, 12:39 AM
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Re: VAR for FRC

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Originally Posted by piersklein View Post
Eric also mentioned the stress this system would put on referees. In the current system, only the head referee will be a part of every match. The rest of the field referees are rotated between referee stations and given breaks. At most events, there are at least 2 referees on break who would be available to look at match video.

The way I imagine VAR being implemented it would add no additional time between matches. Students already go and argue with the head referee in the question box. That won't change but the video review will happen simultaneously to the students being in the questions box. That being said, I do think that limiting the amount of "challenges" a team gets in playoffs may be worthwhile.
Minor corrections:
--Never assume 2 referees on break. There could be zero. (Just trust me on that one.) The usual target is 1 with more being a "nice to have".
--Also never assume that referees on break are actually at the field and thus available. There's a reason it's a "BREAK"--standard instruction goes something like "I don't care what you do when you're on break, other than don't be stupid, and don't be late back". Yes, they're on radios (most likely) but it'll take them time to get back if, say, they're in the restroom.

And then there's the comments in this post versus your previous post about the timing.
--Initial post: Head ref hears student complaint, reviews if it's reviewable, and then directs another ref to review. Then the other ref informs the head ref whether there's anything to bring up, they look at it together--the students are waiting in the box the whole time, the field is possibly ready to go...

This post: While the students are in the box talking to the head ref, the review ref is reviewing, apparently prior to the head ref clearing the review.

The latter is the way to not take up time; the former is the way to not waste time. And then there's the current method of things which is to discuss, discuss, done. Both ways will take up a little more time than currently--which I think would be acceptable--but it's going to be a tough balance.


There's a couple of other things that are bugging me, but they're more of a preference thing:
--Just about the entire gamut of possible things to call/no-call is listed... so theoretically everything happening in the entire match could be reviewed. With that in mind...
--Judgement calls are included in the video reviews. (Many of the cards are, in fact, judgement calls.) I really, really don't like that; my opinion is that if those are reviewed the odds are probably 90%+ that the call stands or is confirmed. I don't care to cite references on this, but trust me, I can think of a few.
--By the same token, the head ref can't initiate a review by him/herself to get a better judgement the first time.
--Field-intiated disables are normally only done for three reasons: Obvious safety issue, bumper down, or (match replay due to) field fault. If it's obvious, why does it need to be reviewed?

Those are just kind of moving the ball/strike call out of the review chances...
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Unread 11-13-2017, 08:10 AM
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Re: VAR for FRC

Quote:
Originally Posted by piersklein View Post
To your point, video review actually has been done in offseason events. You can read about it here and here. However, using an extremely small sample size will never adequately predict the effects of video replay. It is hard to argue that a large sample size of events is needed when a typical team will not even play more than 20 matches.
This has been a topic for a number of years. And the second link you pointed to was a thread that I started almost a year ago. It was in response to some threads in March about needing to have a video replay. I was looking for data to use. I got one response to that thread.

Two responses isn't a lot of data to use. The off season for 15,16,17 would give data for ~2000 matches, not a small sample size. There seems to be a "feeling" that over 1/2 of the CD readers want video replay. I'm willing to bet that three of these video people were at every off season in the last 3 years. They could have gotten set up and done the research work in those events and gotten lots of data for everyone to look at and make a decision.

Multiple people like Blake and I want to be supportive of this effort. But show us the numbers.

Thanks!
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Unread 11-13-2017, 09:48 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

While I'd love to be able to bring in video as evidence, the time that a video review would take could easily cripple events being done in the advertised number of days. PASS.
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Unread 11-13-2017, 09:56 PM
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Re: VAR for FRC

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Originally Posted by GeeTwo View Post
While I'd love to be able to bring in video as evidence, the time that a video review would take could easily cripple events being done in the advertised number of days. PASS.
That is exactly why I suggested limiting video review to playoff matches only. It won't take up anywhere near as much time to have the review in 21 matches vs in 121 matches.
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