Referees and Human Players

I think back judges are a good idea but if it wasn’t done throughout the entire tournament it shouldn’t have been done during eliminations. Eliminations should be called exactly the way qualifications were.

There’s certainly validity to that idea, but I think that overall, if better enforcement (relative to the rulebook) is the result, the change in officiating practice is justifiable. After all, it’s hard for a team to credibly argue that just because they got away with a violation before, they should get away with it again.

I agree - plenty of “real” sports do something similar (Baseball has extra umpires in the World Series, tennis has video reviews at major tournaments, soccer has goal judges in the Champions League) and people recognize that this is a good thing. Of course, the optimal solution is that these extra qualified referees could have been at the field for the entire regional…

I must admit the most common uncalled rule infractions I saw at our regional were human player fouls; but I also saw one get called. The player was throwing the balls back in over the top goal. This caught the eye of the head ref who called the foul. It was obvious that NONE of the human players on that alliance knew the rules. They were leaving balls in the corral and didn’t get all their “heaves” in during the last 30sec. They left the balls on the ground behind the wall at the slot when the match ended (not entirely unreasonable), but the field setup crew was a bit confused setting up the next match as it took them a minute to locate the “missing” balls.

True but those players are professionals who have played their sports for literally thousands of hours where most of ours will never get to play more than an hour in their lives.

Tristan, you know that robot inspectors hear that kind of argument from teams all the time! One of my favorite changes to the manual for 2012 is the prohibition on questioning referee calls for simple fouls.

Mine too. Of course I’m also not a big believer in “instant replay” either; but that’s another story. The players are human (or robots) and make mistakes – so do the referees, umpires and judges of the world. So sometimes calls will get missed – get over it. It’s part of being gracious and professional.

I have reffed one event and have another next weekend. As alluded to, it is extremely difficult to watch the field and then watch the teams behind the glass. The only time I called this was in the eliminations when I noticed balls were not being picked out of the corral. The worst part was it changed the outcome of the match. However, this is one foul that really does have the potential to change the game (ball hording).

Going forward, it would be great to have more refs for the sake of consistency, but in some regions it is hard just to get a head ref and five others. I was “on-call” this weekend for a regional because there was concern that they would not have five refs.

That’s what I mean—that as an justification for violating a rule, it should have minuscule credibility at best.

Thanks for a great (and quick!) discussion.
It seems we really need six referees + the head ref for each match, or to empower the volunteers behind the glass to talk to the referees, and to let the teams know about this.
Now: where do we take these suggestions? Who do I contact at FIRST?

I should note, I don’t think it was the intention of the team to break the rules. It was actually a team I highly respect that was supposed to be responsible for getting the balls out of the corral. Ultimately, I think it was a case of watching the match instead of their responsibilities or lack of awareness of the rules.

Maybe what we really need is for all players to read, understand, and obey the rules. At times there’s chaos in the player’s station. I assert that adding referees, meddeling field reset, and teachable moments does not address the core of that problem.

I saw quite a sad thing at South Florida this week. During a quarter-final match, a human player began throwing the balls over the wall before 30 seconds was called. Furthermore, until the head ref noticed, the other ref stood idly by as the ball’s flew into the field. After the head ref noticed, she incurred 4 more penalties before she heard the yells from the people behind her (in queing) telling her to stop. Thankfully for her, it was not the deciding factor in the match, but it is still hard to see that happen, especially in eliminations.