POLL: Champions League Opt-In

I’ve been very intrigued by the discussions happening about changing the nature of the competition.

Threaded throughout these discussions are some interesting topics regarding team goals. Specifically it seems like some teams are almost playing a different game than others. This was most apparent to me during the discussion of “what it means to be competitive”.

What if FIRST separated these teams into two distinct groups?

What if FIRST announced that they would allow teams to opt-in to a new “Champions League”?
In this new league, there would be no effort to make sure that lower performing teams had a positive experience. It would be 100% designed towards the highest levels of play. Every effort would be made to eliminate randomness, minimize luck. No emphasis would be placed on leveling the playing field.

In FIRST, we’re all winners… but not everyone can be a champion.

Assuming “all other things equal” (logistics, event availability, etc)… would you opt in?

Note: I’m not advocating for this scenario.
I’m presenting the question as a thought-exercise and to better understand where the community’s collective head is at.

If I were on a team that consistently produced high-tier robots, I’d be in favor of segregation, because we’d be able to play with other teams that are not delusional about the importance, or lack thereof, of winning.

On the other hand, if my team consistently fielded weak robots, I would rather have full integration, because possibly being separated from powerful teams due to my team’s weakness would reduce some of the “inspiration” aspect of FIRST.

From my teams point of view, I would say no. We compete at an average to above average level in our area. One of the reasons we attract students and college mentors is our consistency in the competition aspect of FRC. Were we to be in the Champions League, I feel like our on field performance would drop and we’d attract less members.

Personally I’d love to join a Champions League because it is the exposure to high quality intense matches with top tier robots that keep me obsessed with the program.

Yes. This would attract our team. I can definitely say we don’t build robots as functional or pretty as #TeamIFI but I’d say we have the desire, the passion, and the attitude to compete in a higher league. We’re playing with stereoscopic cameras and neural networks… I think that’s above a lot of teams.


I like working to “pull up” all the teams in our area, with the competition being a decent format to do that.

Opt-in reduces the opportunities for my team to do that.

But I suppose it would be awkward to not “opt-in” when many other strong teams have?

Maybe we would have to “opt-in”, because the “opt-out” league would be completely boring.

However, I don’t like the idea of dividing the FIRST family, more than Half-Champs already does.


Similar to Peyton, I’d love to play in a more competitive league, but I don’t think 5188 is quite there yet? Could we get there in a few years? Sure! But I wouldn’t like having to choose between being a mid-high tier robot in the “poor man’s league” or a bottom tier robot in the Champion’s league. Both have opportunites to provide extra inspiration to our kids, and to take some away. Which is better? Who knows.

What would a Champion’s League team not get? No kitbot in the kit? DNS blocking of the team resources page on [strike]usfirst.org[/strike] firstinspires.org? When so much of the drive at the top end of the program is from the mentors (with the sponsors backing them), the help you get from FIRST resources feels like it runs out about mid-pack.

I think a separate competition altogether would be pretty cool and I’d be interested. However, I am completely against FIRST implementing something like this. I like competition more than most, but creating more division from lower and higher tier teams isn’t something I am for at all. We basically have the championships of what would be the champions league in the form of IRI. I don’t think we should separate regionals and championships too. At that point it seems like the goal has shifted less from inspiring students to go into STEM fields and more of just the sport of competitive robotics itself.

Would something like this be similar to the way the NCAA has set up divisions for sports? Would there be requirements to move up or down?

For reference, there are:
128 Division 1 FBS Football Teams
124 Division 1 FCS Football Teams
170 Division 2 Football Teams
247 Division 3 Football Teams

Generally, there are:
347 Division 1 Colleges
~300 Division 2 Colleges
~450 Division 3 Colleges

Going into the Champions League wouldnt stop you from “pulling up” the Opt-Out teams.

This is sort of what I was thinking. Depending on how events/season schedule played out it might even improve the ability. Possibly allow for a team to mentor multiple teams with more time during a different competition season.

I don’t support this move but if it happened we would probably opt-in.

Through other avenues, sure.

I was referring to the competition.

If we aren’t competing with them at competition, we can’t pull them up.

I can’t take more vacation days to help out team at competitions I’m not already attending.

But I can help teams at events my group is already attending.

How would you recommend pulling teams up otherwise?


Ditto with Mike. Working with rookies and other teams with less resources at competitions is perhaps our most rewarding effort. Our GP award in 2014 at Newton is on at least equal footing with our championship. It certainly was the highlight of that year.

Remember that the objective of FRC is not to develop winning teams, its to instill inspiration for STEM as broadly as possible using the same type of excitement that other sports do.

Well I would assume competitions would become smaller, which I thought would mean Champions and “Lower” Leagues would compete at the same event.