G102 is a Terrible Rule

G102 is a terrible rule and can be easily fixed. Yes @marshall I know the title is click-baity.

Terrible Rule:

Terrible Impact:

At the Wisconsin Regional, team 6574 was disabled in Match 12 of the playoffs (lower bracket). There were 78 seconds left in the match. They would go on to lose the match 108 to 144. They easily had the opportunity to win the match with 3 additional high cycles, 1 additional mid cycle by their alliance partner (since 6574 wouldn’t be blocking the grid) and a climb at the end of the match.

This referee call impacted this match, and ended 6574’s season. Judge for yourself in the gif below if the call was made correctly per the terrible rule G102.

How to fix the Terrible Rule:
For all the things FIRST does in the name of safety, it absolutely blows my mind that somebody can look at this game and say “yeah let’s station the referees and scorekeepers 6” away from the field perimeter." Regardless of any changes to G102, the referees should be stationed back multiple feet whenever they can. It doesn’t make their job any more difficult and dramatically decreases the chance that anybody will get hurt by a rogue robot.

I think there are 2 potential changes that would dramatically improve G102.

Option #1: Change the penalty for violating G102 to a yellow card.

I somewhat understand why FIRST would want to disable a robot that contacts something outside the field perimeter… but in reality, the process for disabling a robot takes 10+ seconds. It does absolutely nothing to address any immediate danger. By the time a robot is disabled, they almost always are posing no additional threat to anybody’s safety. Give them a Yellow Card and avoid ending their season.

Option #2: Rewrite the rule to state that contact outside the field must be “egregious” and add a blue box defining some examples.

If you want a great example, here’s a hilarious clip of my team absolutely destroying a ref stand. This is pretty clearly worthy of being disabled. Which the referees did in this case after we ran 2 additional cycles… this is also easily avoidable by moving the referees back a bit.


This is an easy change to make and it has the potential to save somebody’s FRC experience. Let’s make it happen.


I think to counter this, I’ll reference the clip of the robot driving through a closed gate and into a crowd. Should that robot just have sat in the corner of the venue for the match enabled? The disable is a long standing safety precaution so robots don’t hurt volunteers, students, and everyone else. How G102 is applied event to event may change, but I think the disable is a critical part of the rule and it’s purpose.


You obviously didn’t read my suggested change #2… a robot driving off the field would be egregious and demand a disable.

I’d also argue an open field gate would constitute a pretty obvious field fault.


You misunderstand. They bulldozed a closed gate. I was more commenting on why this rule has to include disablement, and just a yellow card wouldn’t suffice. Adding egregious to the rule probably wouldn’t drastically change how the rule is interpreted and called now.


In my opinion, G101 takes care of pretty much any case where G102 is needed for safety. G102 as a yellow card makes a lot more sense


I think thats perfectly valid, they need the best line of sight they can have while keeping them safe. (Which should be anywhere outside the field barrier) Think of how many ref calls everyone is already upset with, now make them stand farther away and see if it gets better.

If your robot is outside of the field barrier, which is very obviously a violation, I think you should be disabled, either your drive team should be trained and drilled about how not to do that, or design so it cant do that.

I agree with this however, if there are reasons to disable a robot, I think refs should have direct access to disable a robot. As I understand it now only the scoring table can disable a robot, and the time it takes to communicate to them that a robot is doing something dangerous, is dangerous itself.


At the start of the pandemic, companies the world over who still wanted to operate erected large polycarb sheets at their registers to stop the transmission of disease in close contact areas.

While FIRST seems to have remembered to put a large barricade between the human players and robots, they must have forgotten entirely about the referees. While I understand fields have already shipped and the logistics of updating can be a pain, in the name of volunteer safety, I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to provide field add-on structures with large grating or polycarb sheets to protect the refs. Let teams hit the shields all they want. Everyone is still safe, and therefore nobody should be disabled outside of major and obvious infractions.


Per rule, yes.

That folded-back part of the wall is outside the field, and there’s contact there. The entry into the Portal was definitely > Momentary, but I can’t tell if any contact in there was. I’ve seen robots disabled for that outside-the wall contact–one broke itself doing something like that.

That said, the requirement of Contact has saved more than one team from a disable–if it’s close but no contact, no disable necessary.

Can’t any robot be disabled for safety reasons? I imagine any robot breaking down the field door and leaving would satisfy this requirement. No ref is gonna see that and go “welp, guess there’s nothing we can do!”

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G201 wasn’t called to my knowledge at Northstar, despite a team literally knocking a field tablet over.

Teams rapidly find themselves on a DNP if they have a wild arm. This game rewards consistency, playoff alliances can’t take the chance, simple as that.

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As a volunteer, I find nothing about this clip hilarious. Did you also get the Technical Foul for violating G301g? Is your team now paying to replace that tablet?

If there were no G102, you would have still been disabled for violating G101 because the operation of the robot endangered the safety of not only the volunteer Referee, but also the volunteer Official Scorer.

There have been multiple robots with long arms coming towards the referee stands. It is dangerous. For the number of times the G102 has been called there are about 10 other times that robots have broken the plane of the guardrail and not been disabled. The referees have been doing a good job of this.

I recommend volunteering as a Referee or as an Official Scorer and see if you still feel the same way about the rule.

I’m still surprised at how many violations of H102, Never step over the guardrail, that we’re seeing. This rule has been in place for the seven years that I’ve been involved with FRC.

I think instead of changing the rules, it is time to look at changing the guardrail height from 1 foot to 2 feet. I had a similar experience in 2019, Destination: Deep Space, when I was volunteering as an Official Scorer. With extensions beyond the frame perimeter and the popularity of brushless motors, robots have gotten faster and more prone to tipping. Raising the height of the guardrail would not change the game action, prevent similar damage to the game field, and reduce the likelihood of people not using the gates.


G102 makes total sense for games that don’t have a 48 inch max extension rule. As usually its 16 or so inches and if you’re reaching out of the field and touching something then something is very wrong with your robot at that time and it should be disabled. Not so much this year.

FIRST put up nets along the field in 13 for volunteer and spectator safety. Yet 2023 comes along and they’re saying robots reaching out 4 feet is perfectly safe for volunteers to stand right next to the field with no safety precautions in place??

Seems like a giant miss on HQ on this and the blame and ramifications of this is being placed on teams instead of actually providing a true barrier.


You assume the tablet broke. It didn’t.

Fantastic argument for why the ref panel should be moved back further from the field. I agree under all circumstances this would be a situation where it makes sense to disable a robot.

Again a terrible assumption. I’ve volunteered as a Referee and as a scorekeeper over the years. If I reffed in this game I would be requesting either a guard in front of me or to have the spot positioned back a couple feet.

Changing the rule is free. Changing the guard rail height is thousands and thousands of dollars and not remotely feasible in-season.


Honestly a pair of vertical bars either side the ref location s (1" heavy wall AL tube) would be enough to stop arms swinging thru the ref locations (there is a lot of swinging/side swiping).


Here to add the useless point that it’s not a tablet. It’s a PanelView. I think it’s a 1500.

I know it’s pedantic, but I get a little itchy whenever I see someone call it a tablet. I just want people to know how neat of a product they really are. They’re honestly pretty beefy displays, so a robot swinging into it is probably only going to scratch it. I definitely wouldn’t want to have to pay to replace one though.

Anyway, back to letting my experience in factory system engineering fade away.


PanelView Plus 1000 on most fields.


You could grab them in FIRST Choice this year!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought about getting and reselling one to fund other team purchases. They are pricey, not likely to break but I wouldn’t want to be a team that destroys one.

On topic to the thread, I found myself instinctively jumping back a few times reffing this year with the long robot arms coming by but I’m not sure moving the ref tablets back multiple feet would have been easily feasible. The high school gyms that often host events can already be a bit cramped and accomodating 4 more feet of space on each end would have been an issue at AZ West last week.


I’ll also add that G102 was called on a robot at Israel District 4 for contacting THE TOP OF THE FIELD PERIMETER and nothing else. Prompting me to ask Q239


I like how we have driver station glass to protect drivers but then put reffs and volunteers closer to the field completely unprotected. I hope first doubles down on this and just moves the reffs onto the field to improve their view next year :wink:


That call is absurd. Glad the q&a had the right answer