Is it Time for Video Review on Red Card Calls?

Is it time to bring out the video review for Red Card violations? We have a technology based competition and I think that a case video review might be upon us. Our team in our first match at the Championships was given a red card and due to FIRST’s no video review policy, it cost our alliance a win. The call was made that we disabled the robot in the top right of the video by pulling the ethernet cable out. However, at the 1:10 minute mark of the video, the robot that goes dead, drives into the wall then backs up. Their alliance partner (1323) is nearest to them, when they go dead. The robot charged with the Red Card (3603) is in the red tarmac in the center of the screen. The referee that made the call later confessed that she didn’t really know which robot was near the disabled robot. The frustration was not only for our team, but our alliance as our disqualification cost the alliance the win and 4 ranking points.


It is time for video review to start getting implemented in FRC.

In my opinion the best argument against video review in years past was that video review at other high school level competitions was not a thing, and that we should be comparing FRC to other high school competitions, not to professional sports leagues. That argument mostly made sense to me, even if I still might disagree.

It is no longer a valid argument though. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) allowed high school sports organizations to use instant replay at postseason competitions. A game winning hail mary pass at the end of a Texas high school state football championships was reviewed and confirmed. Minnesota high school hockey now has scoring review (timestamp 8:22 in report). I’m sure there are plenty more examples out there.

FRC is supposed to be a technology focused organization, and thus should be a leader in video review and not lag behind other sports. Video review is no magic bullet, and will have implementation issues just like anything else, but the technology for it is already here so it should start to be used.

The low hanging fruit is just to use video review to make sure faulty sensors don’t completely ruin the validity of scores. Video review of penalties like red cards is trickier, I’d edge a little more on the side of caution and say that I’d like to see score validation implemented successfully for a few years before talking about adding reviewable penalties, but I can see an argument for red cards since they are so important.

Whatever FIRST does, it’s time to start moving in the direction of video review. The longer they wait the more ridiculous it gets imo.


When my students at DCMP asked me why we couldn’t do video review at events, it prompted the discussion on the implementation of video replays/reviews. The biggest concensus that both my students and us as mentors came to was that considering it takes weeks for match footage to be published in some areas (some events are better at it than others), clearly the tech wasn’t available to make this happen right now (Yes the technology exists, but made the assumption FIRST wouldn’t make the investment in said tech).

After seeing this past weekend at champs where videos were being published to YouTube/TBA within minutes of each match being played (awesome for me as my work blocks Twitch on the network), clearly FIRST has this technology available. I’d love to see it leveraged to make video reviews a reality. How the exact logistics would work for match review… I’m not quite sure. But it’s clear the technology is now here to be able to make it happen.

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The red card only disqualifies the carded robot during qualification. It, by itself, does not even come with penalty points.

We are told the referees can only call what they see. If the referee could not identify the robot that caused the foul resulting in red card, it should have been rescinded for that reason.

The yellow/red card system is broken and needs to be adjusted in tandem. Some of these yellow cards get called in situations where they don’t affect matches, and some aren’t called when they decide matches. Some of these situations are so egregious that the refs need the ability to escalate to red after review. Anything match affecting should be able to be reviewed.

G205 involves damaging contact inside the frame perimeter and carries an 8pt technical foul and a yellow if there is loss of function. IMO loss of function can account for way more than 8 points - having a team come inside your frame perimeter and destroy your intake or shooter such that you cannot score any more points should result in more than an 8 point penalty, and a yellow card , especially in eliminations matches. Yet there is currently no avenue to fix this.

One critical aspect of any hypothetical video review process is a clear fallback position in case the video is unavailable or inconclusive. The referees will work with the information that they have during the time allotted for review, and make their call.

The fact that no video was in fact reviewed (e.g. because of technical failure) does not entitle the petitioning team to any recourse. In that regard, it isn’t a video review petition, it is simply a review.

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