taking a year off?

For a bunch of reasons, our FRC team is considering taking a year off of FIRST and trying out MATE underwater robotics. It’s just not possible for our small team (with only 2 mentors) to run both, as the competitions overlap.

If we do this, do we lose our FRC number? We have no idea for sure we would be coming back to FIRST, but would hate to have to redo all our banners, shirts, etc.

thanks in advance for your replies,

I would call FIRST HQ and explain to them your situation to get better information.

We took two years off a decade ago. You would NOT lose your team number if you don’t register for competition next year.

Either in the admin manual or in some odd part of the FIRST website, it says that you can take time off, and when you come back you can either take the number back or get a new (rookie) number.

I found this:

  1. A returning team that has not been in a competition for three years would be considered a Rookie; that is, going into the 2015 season, the team cannot have competed in seasons 2014, 2013 or 2012. Teams, whose last competition season was 2011 or earlier, can return during the 2015 season as a Rookie with a 2015 Rookie team number, OR, they can continue as a veteran with their original team number. Teams that choose to register as a veteran are not eligible for the above listed Rookie incentives and recognition.


I think you would be able to come back just fine after one year though, not waiting three.

I agree with Peyton. I’m fairly certain you will not lose your team number and can re-join.

There’s a process for claiming old numbers that several teams have gone through, which indicates to me FIRST has some sort of extra “historical” info on team numbers that would allow them to do that.

thanks, this is great info!

As an additional detail, FIRST used to assign temporary numbers until in 1997 (or 1998?) all existing and incoming teams were assigned permanent numbers, with numbers grouped by alphabetical order of the primary sponsorship. That is why 116, 118, and 122 are grouped together (NASA) 45, 47, and 48 are grouped together (Delphi) and a founding and sustaining team has number 190 (WPI)

The significance of permanent numbers means that if a team folds, the number is never reissued. If a team takes gap years, the number is never reissued (Team 23 has been in and out of FIRST for the last two decades).

FIRST’s policy now is that numbers are held by what I believe they deem the sponsoring organization, the 501c3 or school/school system that the number was issued to. If memory serves me right, when 1771 lost teacher support in 2012, the mentors and sponsors did not take the number over to a different school, but were instead issued a new number.

If a sponsoring organization does not sponsor a team for a period of 3 years (I think it’s 3) the sponsoring organization has the option to apply for a rookie number. This means the organization forgoes team history and gets a fresh start, including the ability to apply for rookie grants and awards. 5546 out of Petersburg, VA is the new team that started this year, a decade after the old team 404 folded.

There is other information regarding splits and merges that aren’t relevant to your situation, but FIRST covers most every aspect of number assignment.

3968, Higher Voltage, took a year off lat year when they couldnt find shop space… some of their team members joined us for that year, and they were back in action this year