Change Of Match Schedule

As usual, the teams at GTR received their match schedule on the Thursday night. However, when teams arrived on the Friday morning, they were give a new and ‘updated’ schedule. Since I have never heard of this happening before, I decided to look over the FIRST Overdrive manual and came across this: Match Lists:
Match lists for the second and third day of competition will be available on the afternoon of practice day. The FTA will determine what time these lists will be generated and distributed. The Pit Administration Supervisor will manage the distribution process. This list includes both days of matches and provides information as to when teams will participate, with whom, and against whom. The list is final and the schedule will not be altered."

I was wondering if anyone is aware of why the changes were made when it appears to be against a very clear-cut rule in the manual.

We had the same thing happen at Florida Regional, except they announced towards the end of the day Thursday that they were altering the match schedules to allow for more matches.

They way I interpret this rule is that, it can not be changed per a team asking for it to be, if it is the FTA’s choice, then it should be fine, or if the list has an error or something like that, you wouldn’t want that to go uncorrected.

I would still have to agree since the rule states that the FTA will determine the lists and pit admin will responsible for its distribution. However, once the list has been issued, it is FINAL.

Does anyone else have an opinion on this? Or even an explanation as to why this schedule was changed?

Does anyone have a copy of the original schedule by any chance?

Chances are the reason why the match list changed was b/c there may not have been enough time between matches (or too much) OR they inputted the wrong start / lunch / end times OR the sequence of teams / matches and what not didn’t even out the right way.

At LI, I think they re-did the schedule twice.

HOWEVER the LI Regional used a different part of the system where the match lists and times you recieved would update on the pit display w/ new times for matches to start. Basically if you looked at your sheet and thought you were ahead or behind time you were wrong b/c the pit displays were updating on a match to match basis w/ new times so that the event would / will run smoother.

Aside from that - chances are it was an error and the FTA felt that it was significant enough to have to re-do the entire list. Not like it matters all that much anyway since it doesn’t effect when pits open or close or ceremonies etc… Match times constantly change anyway through out the day so you shouldn’t really be looking to start and finish each match within a certain time since so much could go wrong, Field Equip failure, Score Equip Failure etc… (Things that will always hold you up) All that list does is serve as a general template which can and will change w/o notice and no way of avoiding it.

Is there any way to get an ‘official call’ on this? It just seemed odd that the times and number of matches stayed the same - it was JUST the alliances that changed. Every team was on the list and had the same number of matches.

I would just like to clarify - I am not trying to be a pest of any sort - I would just like to know what happened, mainly for my own curiosity.

What you should’ve done was find the FTA guy and ask him… All we can do is give you a couple of different reasons on why it “may” have had to be changed. If the times and match count stayed the same then it was an issue with how many times the same teams would see each other. Thats my only “other” guess or they went from a static timed system that pit displays would not update match times as matches were occuring to the dynamic timed system where the pit displays constantly update the matches of new times which may or may not include re-generating the match lists ORRRRRR the scoring system crashed and they forgot to save their work / it didn’t back up and they had to do it all over again.

Once again if your that curious you should’ve looked for the FTA person in charge and ask them - b/c only they know the real reason.

Unfortunatly, when Pit Admin was approached, no answer was given in regards to the schedule changes!

Pit admin is not gonna know.

The only people that would know would be the FTA (FIRST Technical Advisor who is on hand to supervise the assy, dis-assy of the field and serve as tech support if something should fail with the FIRST field / and or its electronic equip. - including but not limited to generating the 3 days worth of matches and such) - They are basically the go to people when something doesn’t go right and they will take care of it accordingly by either handling it themselves OR pointing you in the right direction, Field Power Controller / Scoring System Operator and maybe one or 2 nobodies :-p. That even goes for us who do queuing. Personally it tickles my curiosity when something like this happens but its on a need to know basis and if I don’t need to know then so be it :slight_smile: esp if its above my pay rate :-p

Well, I don’t think it’s above your pay rate, because the FTA gets paid the same as you; i.e., $0.00 per event. However, you are correct to advise Imprudent that only the FTA knows for sure why the match list was changed.

One difference between FTAs and the key volunteers (such as Lead Queuers, without whom absolutely nothing of interest would occur at any FRC event) is that FTAs can receive instructions regarding last minute changes directly from FIRST headquarters. That may be what happened, or it may be that the FTA (or one of the key volunteers she/he works with) found a problem that required correction. One thing I’m extremely confident of: if a change was made, it was required to correct something. FTAs and FIRST headquarters staff have enough real problems to deal with – they don’t make changes to things that are already working correctly.

At Seattle the FTA never touched the software. The “nobodies” at the scoring table ran the match system and printed the schedules. The scorekeepers are trained on the match software, not the FTAs (although there is no particular reason they couldn’t know how to do it – I just know they weren’t at the training conference calls where we were taught how to build the match schedule). The only people who ever touched the scoring computer at Seattle were the scorekeepers.

There are even more reasons why the schedule might get rerun. Before we finalized our schedule we generated (edited: I think it was three) variations. We needed to get a particular team in the first two matches because there was a television crew present to shoot that team for a feature they were doing, and the crew couldn’t hang around until they came up in the schedule. This was before it was distributed, though, so it might not have violated the rule. Even if it had I can pretty much guarantee that the event director would have redone the matches Friday morning if it guaranteed television coverage. I suspect she would do even more than changing the match schedule, actually, but that’s a different story. :]

I can think of several reasons a change might have been made:

  1. Incorrect data, ie they input the wrong lunch time or some other important time. It is amazing how much emphasis the match generation system puts on lunch.

  2. Somebody changed the number of matches to be played. ie the FTA put in 9 and somebody later said "are you crazy? and made them change it to 8.

  3. They issued it without auditing it and then found too many repeats when people started looking at it. There are inputs you can make that will either increase or decrease the number of repeat opponenets teams will see.

  4. The schedule was leaked early to a team or individual.

The list could go on …

In Los Angeles we had to reschedule because a team decided (on Thursday :eek: ) that they weren’t going to participate. In San Diego we were trying to start a team as late as possible because their robot was shipped to the wrong place and hadn’t arrived yet. ( They were originally in Match 1, we got them back to Match 7 and their robot arrived about the time we opened up the pits for the day) Fortunately in both cases we hadn’t distributed the lists yet.

While as FTA I didn’t touch the scoring system physically, I sure was looking over shoulders when the matches were being generated. FTAs are trained to operate the scoring system, including the match generation part, sometimes we just “have more important things to do”. :wink: There are also many good reasons to let the scoring guy handle it, but I could do it if needed.

I made darn sure I was there when we audited the schedule that had been generated before printing. Auditing is a key step that is easily missed as the system doesn’t make you do it. With proper auditing you could almost get a decent schedule out of last year’s algorithm. You just had to run it a bunch of times. :rolleyes:

The match schedule was changed because the minimum match spacing was not set correctly in the software, and therefore some teams were complaining that the schedule was not random enough (the spacing was set to “auto”, which means it’s derived from the number of teams at the event and since there were 66 teams it was far too high).

However, the new schedule was in fact distributed to teams Thursday afternoon, only an hour or two after the first one. Pit administration did make a number of announcements to make sure teams were aware of the change.

Thank you very much for the answer Pat - it’s what I’ve been searching for in this thread!

We had a team go home Friday night. That was a slice of scheduling heaven…

I understand the reasons, but does no one find it concerning that the organization is breaking its own rules?

Are the reasons good? - Yes
Are they still breaking the rule, no matter how good the reasons are? - YES!

You need to be a little flexible and the rules should be changed to allow some leeway. I haven’t heard that anyone has modified schedules for any nefarious purposes, as the only specific examples given here were to insure that the event is fair. I doubt many teams would really have an objection to that.

Please remember that these events are not run by students with a deep personal interest in the outcome. The adult volunteers want to run a smooth, fair tournament and just don’t care who “wins.” I think I can speak for about every adult volunteer in FIRST in saying that I think the students win by being on a team that builds a robot, and that (while I would like my teams to win every event) I’m a lot more interested in you all having a great experience. When someone rebuilds the qualifying match schedule when a team withdraws at 7am on Friday, they are doing it to insure that you – the students – have the best experience possible. We do it for you – not to you. And yes, the rule you quote is less important than providing the best possible tournament.