Posted on the FRC Blog, 8/5/2020: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2021-season
The 2021 Season
2020 AUG 05 | Written by Frank Merrick.
The FIRST staff continues to hammer away on prep for the 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition season. Here are some things you may want to know about!
2021 Robots and Game Pieces
The Power Cell is not changing, and there will be three in each team’s Kickoff Kit but none in FIRST Choice (yes, we are planning on a Kickoff Kit, FIRST Choice, and a Virtual Kit). While we are purchasing more spares per field than we did for 2020, we also plan to continue repairing Power Cells in 2021, when necessary, in the same manner as 2020. You can see details here.
Besides the rule changes announced here, we are anticipating no other substantive changes that affect robot design. This includes any changes that open the design space but keep the robot legal. For example, robot starting configuration size, extension limits, and robot weight will not change.
There are relatively minor changes to the robot section still pending, and we won’t release them until we get closer to Kickoff (e.g. roboRIO image, Driver Station software version, any new legal motors or devices, etc.). All other changes specific to gameplay will be announced at Kickoff.
It’s going to be a great game! (Again!)
2021 Rookie Criteria
For many years, a new team could only be considered a rookie if it had one (or zero) mentors with FRC experience and five (or fewer) students with FRC experience. Recognizing that occasionally experienced mentors want to pair up to undertake the significant work of starting a new team, we are changing the limit to allow a team to still be considered a rookie if it has two or fewer mentors with FRC experience. When new teams register they answer a series of questions, including questions about experienced mentor and student counts, to help make the rookie or non-rookie determination. In addition to changing the upper limit for experienced mentors, we’ve tried to make those questions clearer.
We recognize there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season, and as a result we are looking at a variety of scenarios for what FRC may look like in 2021. One possibility we’re considering is scaling events to minimize the number of people in one place at one time. This could mean having one-day events with smaller numbers of teams (and volunteers) at each.
Our folks in the field, such as Regional Directors and District Managers, along with our Chief Volunteers, are helping us explore this possibility, but as you can imagine there are a lot of details to work out with this option that will take time to figure out. We hope to have more details for you soon. At the latest, we will have details about the 2021 FRC Season available prior to the planned opening of team registration in mid-September.
A question has been raised about whether students who were in their last year of high school in 2020 will be able to take team positions normally restricted to pre-college students, such as Driver, in 2021. We’ve given this serious consideration and decided we will not allow that.
Some team positions, such as Driver, are restricted to high school students for good reason. FRC is designed to be a program for high school students, to inspire them to pursue interests in science and technology as adults. If we allow post-high-school students to take positions such as Driver, we would be preventing high school students on the same teams from having that experience.
I’m sure that for some of you this is yet one more disappointment in a year of disappointments, however, I do feel it is the best decision for the program is a whole. The good news is that even though you are restricted from participating in some positions, there are still many, many ways you can help your high school team, and I’m sure they would welcome you back to volunteer as an adult.
More info to come! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!