Penalty for raising tetra higher than player station?

While watching the VCU webcast I believe I heard the following ruling during the first or second match:

“A robot drove into its endzone with a tetra raised above the height of the player station glass, therefore they received a 10 point penalty.”

Did I hear that correctly or was it worded differently? Where can I find this rule in the documentation? I need to know the specific rule. Can we not raise a tetra above the height of the player station glass while in the endzone, or can we just not drive into the endzone with a tetra raised that high? Or did I completely misunderstand the ruling?

I cannot find that rule anywhere in the manual. Might just be a midunderstanding, or a horrible call.

Jeff explained it before the matches, if the robot dangles a tetra above the operators, past the driver station barrier, during the match, it may be disabled and will be penalized. (safety of the operators) Seems that it happened yesterday while trying to score on endzone goals or returning for 10 pt bonus at end.

This scares and upsets me. There’s nothing about this in the rule book at all. There’s <S01> which says a robot can be disabled if it is deemed to be operating unsafely. There’s nothing there about a penalty. Was this an on the spot decision? Is this going to be enforced at all regionals? Will FIRST send out an email blast notifying teams of this new penalty? Can Wetzel or someone at VCU get us an answer on this?

I really don’t like last minute changes to rules like this…

The official word is that if a robot is in the end zone with a tetra over the player station, then it will be disabled as a safety precaution. After Thursday, it was determined that this is necessary.

There is no penalty assessed.


After discussing with co-advisor, he said he only heard about the disable on the webcast, not a penalty. I can not verify the penalty. Sorry for the rushed answer. Thx for the clarification Wetzel.

Thanks for the quick update Wetzel. Sorry about flying off the handle like that, but a new penalty would be a very odd thing and I was worried.

Ok, I may have heard it wrong because I was watching it in the background. I thought he said it was a penalty, but it looks like it’s a disable instead.

What exactly is illegal? Raising a tetra above the height of the top of the player station glass while in the endzone? Or does the tetra have to break the plane of the player station glass to be illegal?

It was made as a *warning *to teams that there is a safety risk when you come in with a tetra above the height of the player station. The refs will watch and will tell us to disable the unsafe robot. It is a safety issue, and as such, the refs have the discretion to make the call of unsafe.


Now, I didn’t see the incident in question, but did you (or whoever else was manning the kill switch) wait for the offending robot to move back over the field, before killing it? We can’t know what the robot would do, if turned off–it might drop the tetra. This is certainly an unenviable position to be in, because if the safety-oblivious driver doesn’t move it, the scorekeeper who takes the risk of killing it might himself make quite a mess of whoever’s underneath…

I hate to say this… But I told you so.

And that is a great point. If it is shut down by a field ref, and someone gets hurt cause the robot is designed to let go at the end of a match when power is cut, who is to blame? The players? The field attendant who killed the power?

This is something I predicted a week or two ago, and making the ruling this late in the game (even if it in the best interest of the safety of the players) is just a bad thing to do.

I believe it should be phased into the regionals, and left to the head ref to make the individualized calls, with risk of blame on their part (for if when they do hit the stop, then the tetra drops) since this was obviously not a rule from the manual from the beginning of the season.

I don’t want to see anyone getting hurt but the standardization and the conformity of rules are there for a reason.

I see this as unfortunately duplicating the tether ruling in 2002.

I say bring back the ball chute from last year as a safety shield over the players.:rolleyes:

Your teams have all bought hard hats for their drivers and human players, right? I still cannot believe FIRST does not require hard hats (McMaster-Carr, page 1663).

This rule has not changed since day one. The announcement by Jeff at the beginning of the day was NOT an official rule change. It was a warning to the teams that the refs would be watching their actions near the player station carefully. This was intended to be a warning to teams that they need to exercise caution at a particular location, that it had shown itself to be a problem.

While you raise valid points about auto release dropping a tetra onto a driver, disabling the robot will create a static situation shortly.


OUR team wears hard-hats … with horns … :yikes:

(See attached mascot)

What I heard on the webcast was that the robot “could” be disabled if the bottom of the tetra it held was above the level of the top of the player station window. Unless I missed it, the tetra didn’t have to actually be over the window for the robot to be disabled. Is this correct?

I believe this was addressed above Kit. What I get from the previous discussion is that this is NOT a new, hard and fast rule. But only a heads-up that the referees will be watching for an unsafe condition which would require the enforcement of S01 (a disable), at the referee’s discretion.

Thanks for the info. That was my understanding, hence the “could” or “may” be disabled rather than “will” be disabled when the announcements were made at VCU.

I don’t belive this issue was ever raised at BAE, or any penaltys or disablements were issued.

'Bots did extend over the player stations with tetras frequently however. I noticed it happening, and wondered if there would be any result of it.

My observations were field attendents quickly getting a hand or two on or near the tetra should it drop and to otherwise keep it from hitting any drivers. Usally, the tetra would spend less then 2 seconds over the station. I did notice at least one tetra being released, although a very quick and attentive field attendent already had a good grip on it it and it never droped or posed an saftey risk. Kudos the the BEA field crew, they were fanstastic about keeping us safe and keeping the field to spec and reset.

In defense of teams that break the player station plane, most incidents seemed to result from the offending bot being rammed or pushed by an opposing 'bot as they attempted to cap on the back goals. If there is an update to the rules specificlly regarding this issue, I wonder how it will be handeled, seeing as how most offenses are beyond the control of the offending team. My hope is that it is left to the refs to call, and field attendents are instructed to be mindful and ready to handle the tetra.

FIRST should think about the playing field and how to better protect drivers. The idea of installing the ball chute isn’t a bad one. I guess that hinges on whether or not FIRST kept them.

I always thought that the rule requiring drivers to wear saftey glasses was redundent with half an inch of lexan between us and the field. I sure stand corrected.

-Andy A.

p.s. The spell checker seems to be broken. I appoligize for any poor spelling.

wow, every time the martians were on the field that happened in auto and a few tetras almost hit the drivers but the coach caught it on team 326 while they tried to cap a goal. i never once heard that rule enforced at Finger Lakes.

The refs never really acted on that “warning” friday morning concerning hassling of cappers in the end zones with teras above the horizontal plane of the plexiglass barrier protecting the operators. It never became an issue again however, which was definately good news.

Concerning what happened at VCU, we were in a practice match with team 401. While they were attempting to cap the center goal in the end zone, I turned to respond to our human player. An opposing team rammed into team 401 at that moment, causing the tetra to come off, falling directly at my head. I looked back in time to register it was there before the point crashed into my safety glasses. It pressed the safety glasses hard enough to cut into my forehead. I don’t think I want to experience that again.

But yes, FIRST definately has a reason to make us wear safety glasses behind the lexan, though I must congradulate 401 for their show of gracious professionalism, approaching me after the incident to make sure I was ok and apologize, even though it wasn’t really their fault.