Regional-specific rules, etc., and do the referees read the rules?

I don’t want to be un-gracious and un-professional , but at a regional we recently attended, there was an, uh, curious lack of knowledge of the the rules demonstrated by the officials, and there was at least one “new” rule added for the competition in question.

On the Friday, there were essentially no loading zone interference penalties called. You could drive into a robot collecting tetras from either the HP or auto loading zone, and not receive a penalty. Later in the event, some such penalties were given (in one case to the wrong alliance), but in the quarter final round, 10 point penalties were given for LZ interference rather than the 30 points specified in the rules. Did even the head referee read the rules?

Then, there was the “special rule.” The coaches were not allowed to cross the “starting line,” even after the end of the autonomous portion of the match. Very interesting.

I guess my point is this. Is there a system for assuring that head referees know the rules? Are there any guidelines for training the sometimes inexperienced “associate” referees? When I was a referee at the Championship in '03, I was very familiar with the rules and the game, but the head referee had a very useful meeting with the rest of us going over the specifics of what a referee needed to look for during matches. Apparently that didn’t happen at the event I recently attended.

We all know that referees are volunteers and we appreciate their work, but it appears that there needs to be a better system for making sure they are prepared to perform their important service to the teams.

Refs vary from regional to regional with some knowing the rules in and out, and some not even recognizing the simplest of offenses. I can only hope that only the best of refs can referee at the nationals. The thing that really bothers me is when the refs called a drivers meeting to state and specify certain offenses the refs then called the exact opposite of what they had ruled in the meeting. I can only assume that the nationals will have the best refs possible.

Kit did this pop up in Denver too? I was wondering what to make of it as a missunderstanding from someone at UCF, as it was never officiated to me.

The same thing was noticed at one of OUR recently attended regionals,

The officials there made us take our replacement gearbox (Identical gearbox to the ones on our robot (the kit boxes))apart in our school van and bring it in dissassembled and then re-assemble it inside. The rulebook says that we are allowed to bring replacement parts that were exactly physically and functionally identical to those on our robot. The same ref. picked up a red and a blue tetra that had been stacked and uncapped from the same goal and replaced them on the goal with no penalty. This seems wrong to me.

I feel your pain. At L.A., in the final round, one of the blue robots tipped the best red robot. No penalty was called, though intentional tipping is a 10 point penalty. Worse, this occured in the human loading zone, which makes it 30 for interference (+10 for tipping?) The refs should, ideally, know the game rules, safety rules, and size rules inside out. Then they should act on them, including entanglement and tipping.

If I were to quiz many of the participants at a regional on the rules of the game OR the robot rules, I would bet that most would fail to get 75% or better. Remember that these refs are volunteers and do their best. Most of them do not spend 6 weeks working on robots or studying the rules as do many of us. All we can do is encourage and try to educate in a constructive way. I have found that most refs when shown the correct rules are happy to adapt. The time to approach them is not after you play and feel wronged, but before or after the days play or maybe at lunch if they have time.

Great! I’ll spread the word: “Lunch on Steve in Atalnta!” :cool:

More like, whoever FIRST can get to sign up.

Many people who are on teams right now signed up to ref at events other than where their own team was competing. Lots of these teams are probably going to nationals, meaning FIRST has already lost a large pool of qualified individuals.

I was a ref at the championship in 2003 after the team I was with at the time, 1062, was unable to qualify for and attend the “big event.” I will volunteer to ref again at nats in the event that my team does not attend. From my experience, the regionals are the events where refs would be harder to find. At least I have not been in a position where I would be available and willing to ref a regional. Of course, if someone would pay my way to a regional which my team was not competing in, I’d do it.:slight_smile:

…although if Redateam were in Archimedes, couldn’t FIRST theoretically place that trained ref on, say, Galileo?

But if that ref is a mentor for said team, they’d be needed by the team, and could not volunteer.

Says who? BeachBot mentors have volunteered at many regionals. Admitedly, they have done so as inspectors and safety officers. However, I know of a former 696 student who refereed at L.A. where 696 competed. I don’t think that he was any easier on 696 than on any other team. I can’t say that for all refs who have a team affiliation, however.

I didn’t mean to say that exclusively, because they’re on a team at the event, they cannot volunteer, because of impartiality, or any other reasons, but rather that if you are a technical mentor for a team, the team will probably need your help throughout the competition, which would rule out the possibility of refereeing.

Depends on the team. 330 has a reliable bot, so we can spare mentors unless something really big breaks, but for other teams, say 1697 (Gyros, who were a rookie at LA and had a robot that kept breaking or not being ready), mentors may be in short supply.
If a team has a lot of students and help is needed, the team can spare the students if they are needed. I spent Houston nationals resetting Galileo and two teammates filled in (at least on Thursday) to do the same thing on Newton. We only had 14 students total on the team.

I agree. I’m a technical mentor and an event volunteer.

My team is fortunate to have several technically strong sponsors and mentors, and an excellent core group of technically oriented teachers. Our students probably get more technical guidance and suggestions than they really need (or want?) during the build period. By the time we get to regional competitions, they are ready to handle what comes their way in the pit and on the field.

I started volunteering as a robot inspector in 2003. I enjoy seeing other robots up close. Sometimes I offer our scouts some advice, but more often they have already seen whatever I point out.

This year, another mentor on our team also volunteered as an inspector on Thursday at St. Louis, then was asked to serve as a referee on Friday and Saturday.

IMHO, mentors make excellent volunteers at FRC events because we have already committed several weeks effort to understanding the specific objectives, strategies, and rules for that year’s challenge. FIRST always needs more volunteers. Mentors who anticipate having time available at an event should consider volunteering, particularly in areas where their detailed knowledge of the rules would be of greatest help; e.g., as referees and inspectors.

This year I served as lead robot inspector at St. Louis. I also helped with robot inspections at Buckeye. And I will be inspecting robots again at the Championship, where I hope to see many other team mentors who have time to volunteer.

That’s not true. Our mentor was a ref at the championship event in our division. Every time we came onto the field, he would take a break and let someone else temporarily sub in so it wouldn’t be bias. We needed him with us for the trip, and he was with us… just down on the field :smiley:

GO 1403!!!

It seems to me most of the problems are out in areas that are fairly new to FIRST (like denver and the west coast). UTC I believe had most of the same refs from 2004 and these guys were really good.

FIRST is like any sport, bad calls will be made… Who cares? We just have to get over it and move on because no matter how much we complain they won’t change a call.

Look at baseball and how many strikes are called balls or balls called strikes. In basketball some fouls are called offenseive when the should be defensive etc… It’s all part of the game.

I was dissapointed at the West Michigan Regional. When you hit a robot in a loading zone, its a 30 point penalty. They are trying to keep the human players safe. When a robot crosses the drivers plane and the drivers get knocked in the head with a tetra, its only a 10 point or even no penalty. On Friday, a robot trying to cap the center/home row on our side breaks the plane and drops a tetra on me, the other driver, and our coach. Our coach had a busted lip, I had a bump on my head, and the other driver had a sore sholder. The opposing alliance got nothing. Not even a warning. Saturday in the final rounds, we were hit yet again. This time the tetra was higher and hurt more. All the opposing alliance got was a 10 point penalty. I guess safety isnt a concern. The 2 robots deserved 30 point penalties and their robots being disabled.

We were at the West Michigan Regional, mostly had to play defence as I totally underestimated the real friction losses in our arm motor assemblies. I’m not going into bad calls and aggressive defence…
My main comment is rules on how to play the game don’t effect the PHYSICS of putting 8 and 12 pound objects at heights of sometimes over 14 feet on robots with 28" by 38" bases that weigh only 133.4 lbs or less that can travel as fast as 14+ feet per second. It’s time for SAFETY NETTING. 302’s drive team shouldn’t have been hit once by flying tetras mush less twice.

The west coast is not new to FIRST. We have had teams since 1995, and regionals since 1999.

West coast regionals should, infact be the most consistant of any in the nation. Sacramento, PNW,SVR, and Vegas all had the same core ref crew. All the mentioned regionals also had FIRSTer’s with lots of experience reffing in addition to the core that had been to all the others.