FRC "Club" -> High School Varsity Sport

Ignorant: Is this the entire state?

Ooh strong quote- “Varsity letters signify sacrifice and accomplishment. They should not be limited to athletes in traditional sports,”

This bill is the entire NJ, but your school hasn’t made official changes, correct?

The way it was passed was that it was encouragement from the state government for schools to make changes for it, not forcing districts in either direction. Our students have attempted to get varsity letters via our Board of Ed. but our district has made no changes surrounding it to the best of my knowledge.

Yes, all 220+ teams

Have you checked out the official documentation of this, yet?

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Well I think most teams are both clubs and sports teams. However what I’ve realized is that most teams start out as clubs and many of the more competitive eventually become teams, and finally sports team, since driving a robot is technically a sport.

A team that is made of multiple school will not be able to continue under most High School League By Laws.

That is one of the sticking points, and something to discuss when looking for recognition. However, it’s not insurmountable. Here in MN, multi school teams and community based teams get the same recognition and access to the State Championship as any other team. I know in some other areas, such teams have been excluded from high school league championships, but still competed in FIRST - they just* lacked the recognition and support that comes with high school league membership.

*Such recognition and support can have a huge impact on teams, I don’t want to diminish that. But being a team without that will not stop participation in FIRST, for a dedicated team.

I ran into a major problem when we had a student from a neighboring district join our team (there wasn’t an FRC team in his school). There is an SC law forbidding students from participating in sports or other programs outside their attendance zoned school. The student was removed from our roster.
There is a team within my district that violates this law - two school combine to form a single team. Since the members attend schools within the same district, a blind eye has be turned.

My question is simple - why is becoming a sport so important?

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Likewise, I do not understand the desire to make FRC an athletic competition.
I do know that in some states/school districts “Lettering” is reserved for sports only. But, the Letterman jacket isn’t the status symbol it used to be.

We actually have a Robotics Letter for our members.

A. To get out of gym class.
B. Because the team deserves as much (or more) recognition as a sports team. They work harder than many sports.
C. Robotics helps people more than a normal sport.

Robotics should have just as much recognition as a sport, and the only way for that is to get it recognized as one.

Because a lot of our students are overwhelmed by the “you must do 4 years of sports in high school so it looks good on the resume” idea. Thus, this leads to us (robotics) fighting with other sports to get our students. Female students that do sports are more inclined to softball and/or basketball so they typically do not have the extra time for robotics after (required practice, games, etc).

No, you don’t get out of gym class for playing a sport (at least not our school). In fact you must participate in gym, not fail the class, in order to practice/play for that day.

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Depends, in Michigan you do

Here in MN, it’s all about recognition. I’m sure all that stuff others mentioned comes into play, but the recognition is really the impactful part, for a couple of reasons:

  • Explaining the whole concept of champs can be difficult (Think about it… 2 separate events, hundreds of teams, multiple fields, alliances, etc). Explaining the MSHSL State Championship isn’t, because it’s the exact same thing every other competitive activity in the state does - you say “we’re going to states!” and everyone knows what you mean without any other explanation. Winning MSHSL gets teams the exact same trophies that others get. That can be a HUGE deal for these teams, and a large status symbol for them within their school and community.
  • Being officially recognized by the MSHSL has had a net positive impact on the support that schools give their teams. Think about it - schools pay for football and soccer fields, basketball courts, tracks… all for those other sports. Shouldn’t they be doing the same for us? It’ll take a while, but the first step towards that is getting on even ground with those other activities. Something as small as getting the school to help with busing, the same as they do with the football team for away games, can be huge.
  • Coach positions for most competitive activities include a stipend. Having robotics recognized by the MSHSL makes it easier for schools to include that same consideration for their robotics teams (note coach!=mentor). These coaches are under a lot of stress and put in a lot of time - they deserve to be recognized and compensated for that, and doing so will help with coach retention, and that helps with team longevity.

Part of the key here isn’t thinking about it as “sports” vs “other activities”. Our school no longer has an athletics department - it has a competitive activities department. This small change in nomenclature has a huge impact in how different activities are perceived and treated, across the board, and is something we, as a community, need to pursue if we want competitive robotics to be as mainstream as so many other activities.


I’ve heard rumors that WV is going to pay the teachers who mentor robotics teams the same that they pay the football and other sports coaches. Unfortunately, we aren’t a school team, but an area team (hence Mountaineer Area Robotics)

Playing Devil’s advocate here, but think about this - if something suddenly becomes a sport, why would people change the way they think about it? It’s still the very same thing that it was before the label changed, no?

Maybe this philosophy class I’m in right now is messing with me, but I think this is an interesting thought experiment.

(maybe my psych class is messing with my brain too…) something something hindsight something bias happening in the past… reminds you of negative things… you dont like it. (not even sure i used the term correctly/ used the correct term… :grimacing:)

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