North Bay Regional (2016)

There were several red cards for tipping handed out last week according to discussion on CD. I personally saw one at the PNW Mount Vernon event.

The team that did the tipping was a respected team with a history of GP play. The team that they tipped was also a respected team with a history of GP play. The red card eliminated the alliance from the semis… Neither alliance wanted the match to end that way, I don’t think.

The unanimous call by refs across several independent tournaments has been that tipping is illegal, whether you meant to or not. My interpretation is that it is much like high sticking in hockey… Just as a hockey player is responsible for their stick, the drive team is responsible for their robot. If your opponent starts to tip, you MUST back off to prevent the tip.

I wasn’t at North Bay, and have no idea in what context you are interpreting this result, but at PNW Mount Vernon, the team that received the red card in the semis, after first appealing the call, returned to ask the head ref if he’d sign the card for them. I don’t think they’d ever received one before! I believe I also overheard a member of the drive team comment that the tip looked different on video than it did from the driver station.

It IS possible to get a red card while still being a GP team. But to be clear, a red card for tipping seems to be a very uniform call across multiple events and multiple weeks… “Don’t tip robots” appears to be a uniform standard.


So if I build a tall, unstable robot and it tips over when my opponent taps me on the side, I win? Not a good precedent to set.

Obviously that’s not what happened at North Bay or PNW, but I worry about this precedent hurting more teams when they unintentionally flip another team.

There is a good reason I volunteer as a tech inspector and judge, and not a ref. I prefer to not have to make calls like that.

What I do admire, however, is what appears to be great uniformity amongst FRC refs at different events and in different weeks in consistently making similar calls. Whether you like the calls or not, the consistency is such that I am sure teams will be taking note and making special effort to avoid tipping their opponents.

I’m not sure the rule book says “teams must avoid flipping their opponents” in those precise words, but that’s what the refs have been saying and I think I’d pay attention if I were driving a robot!


The head ref decided that it was an intentional incapacitation of 1325 (G24). Because of the positioning of 2013, none of the refs had a clear view of what happened. From the stands and driver station it was pretty clear that 2013 did not do it intentionally.

I’d like to see the data on this because after watching several webcasts over the course of competition season, this is the only week where such a correlation could be made just by looking at the results.

On a side note, there is one call I’ve seen done incorrectly, and that is calling a pinning on a robot that is completely in the middle of the courtyard. Pinning against a field element is clear, but NOT pinning in the middle of an open field. Seeing refs do a pin count just had me shaking my head. Pinning against air is not pinning.

Jason that is the problem. This was the second robot to get knocked over at the event. No red card on the first. Also fouls were clearly called MUCH more heavily on one side of the field than the other and we raised this issue with the head ref twice only to be ignored. We asked them to rotate refs. No. We also had an issue where a mentor from another team asked one of our students to help him grieve a call. The ref was respectful while the mentor was there but left mid explanation to referee the next match. When he returned after match play the mentor had left. At this point the ref was rude and dismissive to our student who was still waiting for the rest of their explanation of the call.

I am not saying that these things were unfair against us per se. Just that they were unfair. Winning is not the issue. Fairness is. As head refs are understandably hard to come by FIRST would rather allow unfair play than “micromanage” their head refs. Their comment not mine.

We would rather FIRST pay for refs and ensure fair play for the students and mentors across FIRST who bust their butts each year to raise money, volunteer time, sweat, and blood to see these events happen. We centainly pay enough for it.

We will get past this. Of course we will but we are going to Make it Loud. Watch for Fair Play FIRST buttons at our next event and learn how to help us raise the issue with the FIRST executive.

85% sure they do actually rotate refs every x matches, I haven’t actually specifically looked at it this year, however in years past they have absolutely rotated refs. I mean the refs are tested pretty hard, and I can understand a head ref not wanting to swap his refs around from the pattern they are used to because a team asked them to. I don’t imagine a swap could have done much, but then again I wasn’t at the event.

I can’t really comment on anything else there.

Sorry to hear you feel that things were unfair. In 14 years of FRC it has been my experience that the quality of reffing is at least as high as in any other sport, professional or amateur, that I have observed. Do people complain? It’s probably not a sport if people don’t complain about refs. Don’t even get a Canucks fan going about the non-calls in the Stanley Cup finals against Boston!

In general, if you leave it up to the refs to decide the match, you let it get too close.


Wow what is a win without the “Game Ball”:slight_smile:

After the win I went around and collected the drive team names to keep in our case at school. The order of names is "Coach, Driver, Human players(2) and the programmer. Would love to the entire team but the ball is not big enough.

Oh so everyone knows, I’m the coach for team 2935 NACI and of course many thanks to team 1241 for picking us again. Also it was a blast playing with 1310 as well. But my most profound thanks has to go out to all the kids on the team that have worked so hard and come so far.

Hey Gary,

There’s a lot that can be said about FRC reffing (it’s well known that I’ve said a lot over the years), but despite that I don’t think anyone can reasonably claim that FIRST prefers to allow unfair play to happen. There’s definitely a concerted effort from GDC all the way down to the local referees to make things as fair as possible. Yes, there are still mistakes and the process can be improved, but I think it’s a little disingenuous to suggest that FIRST is knowingly allowing unfair play.

I’m glad your team is already looking ahead to get past this and working on coming up with concrete suggestions on how to improve things for all participants in the future. I’m sure if you share some of these suggestions here, the community will gladly help and provide some of their own. Hopefully we can all come up with some ideas to help minimize the chances that a team walks away from an event feeling the way you did.

For the most part, it was the same refs for almost all of the matches. They were rotated more between Thursday and Friday, rather the between matches.

I meant that they rotated positions, not refs per say. Fully rotating refs is pretty unrealistic, there just aren’t enough refs out there. Normally they have an extra ref that rotated around for “breaks”. I believe they were specifically commenting on the fact that the one side of the field was calling fouls harder than the other.

Thanks Kartik. I have responded by email rather than continue to hijack this post with frustrations. I really want to reiterate that team 2013 had a fabulous time in North Bay otherwise. I can’t encourage teams enough to attend this regional. The city is 100% behind the program. After the red card issue we were showing the Mayors grandkids pictures of 781’s robot because they love hockey so much. They were thrilled to see hockey sticks used on a bot. Chatting with the mayor and his family was a sample of some of the great experiences we had there.

Just wanted to write a post about 229’s experience at North Bay.

We had an amazing time joining our Canadian friends at North Bay. Being the first US team to compete there brought us some attention, but we felt like we were just another team at home there. All of the volunteers were amazing, the venue was great, the hotel was very close, and the food surrounding the venue and in the venue was excellent.

As for the competition we were very excited by our dramatic improvement from TVR last week, as we were putting up as much as 5 high goal cycles in a match. We know we can improve even more by the time World Champs comes around at the end of April.

Thank you to teams 4907 and 4069 for working with us in the elimination rounds. We loved playing with both of you. It’s a shame we couldn’t get out of quarterfinals.

Major congrats to 1241 for bringing home the win and the Chairmans award. You were my favorite team to work with both on the field and off. Such a deserving team.

Thank you to everyone else who made North Bay awesome this year!

Edit: any idea when match videos will be up on WatchFIRSTNow?

Really? That’s awesome. I’m glad someone other than us loves the hockey sticks on our robot! :smiley: This was this season’s robot you were showing them?

On a side note, I’m sure our team will support you again in these issues you have faced. When I was watching the match via the livefeed, it sure didn’t look like your drive team had meant to do any tipping—they backed off right away. Good luck in Western Canada. We hope to see you in St Louis at the end of next month!

This year’s. We took a picture of it at Buckeye. THAT was exciting robotics! Way to go guys and thanks for your continued support!

Fair enough. I apologize for that. But I still maintain they could step up and do a lot more.

I was reviewing the matches we played at Bayou and in one instance when our robot was pushing against another robot in the Neutral Zone, I could see the Head Ref counting with his arm for a pin. He continued with two more waves of his arm after the robot being pushed escaped. It is not clear what they were being pinned against. Maybe the robot that had been disabled for an infraction before the match started? It seemed that we were not alone in experiencing anomalous reffing, especially in the first few rounds of matches. I would not call this unfair since other teams seemed to have similar experiences and the calls went both for and against the teams concerned. I can only hope that the GDC thinks through the games more thoroughly so that the Ref’s are not so overwhelmed.

When FIRST Canada came to Team 1305 four years ago asking if we would like to help hold a regional, we were totally gob smacked from what we thought was an impossible dream actually coming true.

It has now come true three times. Being given the opportunity by FIRST Canada to host such a fantastic experience both within FIRST and within our region, on behalf of the North Bay Regional Planning Committee I cannot possibly express what joy and satisfaction we always get from the FIRST community coming to our city either as competitors or volunteers and making Nipissing University’s Robert Surtees Centre resonate with all that FIRST enthusiasm.

This year was particularly special as we had teams from Quebec and the USA join us to show our community how broad the reach of FIRST is.

The event was once again successful from what we have heard, thanks to the ongoing commitment of generous sponsors, support from all three levels of the political classes, our community from hotels saying welcome, to retail stores advertising the event, and our friends in the media and of course FIRST Canada.

What else can be said about all our fantastic volunteers; we ran out of regular event TShirts with all the late additions!! And our alumni, how you came out to support us.

Congratulations to all the winning teams and those that came. Without all of you making that trek a bit further north to us, it wouldn’t have been as special as it was.

See you next year!!!

Anthony Koziol
Logistics & Site Manager

Thanks to all of you who put so much effort into the planning and execution of the North Bay regional! You guys are great - from the strong presence on social media to tasty team social to the overall high quality of production, capped by a Patrick Gilbert video no less - you guys run a great regional.

Thanks also for whoever rescued my jacket from the coat racks after I drove home without it :o