Team CMP Assignment 2017

As those that followed the 2017 Championsplit announcement know, the news was received with a flurry of criticisms. These ranged from not being able to see or play with inspirational teams or friends from distant parts of the First world to how to handle the assignment of foreign and otherwise distant teams. For its part, First responded to these objections by suggesting it would seek input from the First community by including a representative on the committee charged with addressing:

“What geographic regions will be assigned to which FIRST Championship as FRC teams’ ‘home’ Championships, including the way in which teams outside the United States would be included
A potential way in which teams may volunteer and be selected to attend their non-home Championship”.

In my opinion, a geographic assignment model is not the simplest or fairest model for CMP venue assignment nor is it easily scalable. One complication that First has already identified is that it necessitates the creation of some formulation to permit teams to attend their non-home CMP. Of course, such a formulation would also require the creation of a rule set that governs the total number of non-home requests per season and per team and per time frame etc.

Another issue with geographic team assignment is that it may, in the interest of maintaining equal numbers between venues, necessitate a regular revisiting of area boundaries as team growth rates are quite varied across the First landscape.

I believe there is a solution that addresses both of the issues quoted above while being easy to understand, simple to administer and, at the same time, sharing the cost burden of CMP travel more equitably among teams. And it is as easy as 1, 2.

I suggest the random assignment annually of a 1 or a 2 to each FRC team that is taking part in the upcoming season (including HOF and other CMP prequalifying teams). Obviously, these numbers would represent the two venue sites. With this assignment, teams would know immediately which of their inspirational or favorite teams would be eligible to attend their CMP venue. As part of the kickoff proceedings, the actual revealing of CMP venue assignment could be handled by Dean and Woodie by a coin toss or other random method.

There would be no need to develop or administer any procedure for attending a “non-home CMP” as there would be no such thing as a “home CMP”. Random assignment means that all teams have an equal chance of seeing (insert favorite inspirational teams here…) in action.

I recognize that teams situated near each of the championsplit venues would be open to incurring higher travel costs should they be randomly assigned to the distant venue. That is the main drawback to this method that I see. However, as Orlando, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis et al can attest, no venue lasts forever. I do believe this approach should at least be given some consideration by the First committee as an alternative to their geographic method.

How would you balance the numbers that go to each? You could end up with 600 of the teams that qualify being a #1 and only 200 being a #2. What do you do in that case?

MWMAC… I appreciate this kind of thinking and problem solving… but there’s practical problems for teams like mine caused by stakes-in-the-ground that would exclude us from being able to participate in Detroit–we simply could NOT travel that distance.

Detroit location is one of those stakes we’re told cannot be changed thru 2020.

For us, bus travel from San Antonio to St. Louis is 14+ hours for about $10,000.00… to Detroit the drive time is 22+ hours and I’m sure several thousand dollars more bus cost than St. Louis.

We’re at our limit of viable travel time by bus of 14-16 hours due to time-off from school and just the ability to handle it… and we’re definitely at our limit of $10,000.00 for the bus.

Teams that are west of Texas like California would have a much larger problem than us getting to Detroit via bus.

So speaking just for our team–3481 Bronc Botz–we would NOT be able to compete at Detroit ever that I can see–we just can’t get there.

–Michael Blake

Agreed. If a “random” assignment is to be performed, it should be following qualification, not prior to competition. This would also allow team preference to be taken into account.
Strawman: At each cycle of qualification (e.g. weeks of regionals), the teams which qualify are given 24 hours to express a preference for one venue or the other. Those who do not express a preference are randomly assigned to keep the two events the same size. If too many teams express one or the other, all “no preference” teams go to the short event and teams will be randomly selected from those who selected the long event to go to the other.

This could create its own problems, though, since some weeks are likely to be biased towards one location or another depending on the location of the week’s events (i.e. Week 6 would be very Detroit-heavy due to MICMP being that week). You’d have to take that into account when assigning the ‘no preference’ teams.

I like the overall idea, since it avoids dividing FRC into two mostly mutually exclusive parts (as a geographic split likely would), but I agree with others that there would be some logistical challenges to overcome. That being said, I think this is worth looking into.

Jacob… I thought “what a great idea” when I first read the OP post… and wholeheartedly agree it should be further pursued.

Too bad they couldn’t keep the 2017 venues model of St. Louis/Houston in place because on the face of it, travel-wise, I believe it would be very doable for the vast majority of teams to be randomly assigned to either St. Louis or Houston.

Dang… what could’ve been…

–Michael Blake

Here’s a proposal I’ve developed since hearing about the CMP Split. First, there is a reasonable geographic split (yes, this requires re-tuning each year). Then, set up a system for teams to trade slots.

Once a team qualifies for a championship, they are placed in their geographic championship. Online, they can sign up to switch in one of two ways:

  1. They are willing to trade with anyone, and the system automatically matches up teams (randomly?). If you’re currently in the high-demand CMP, you’ll get to trade immediately. If you’re in the low-demand CMP, you have to wait with no guarantee of getting in.
  2. They are willing to trade, but want to pick with whom. This allows teams who are relatively sure they’ll qualify to work out in advance a way to switch. So before the season, 624, a team who would geographically go to Houston, could make a deal with 33, a team who’d be in Detroit, for them to switch.

Thereby no one is forced to go to an extremely inconvenient Championship, and teams that would like to go to the other CMP are reasonably likely to be able to switch. Further, it means there’s no further logistics needed on FIRST’s part to ensure that the Championships are balanced.

Upon further review it appears burdensome to teams east and north of Virginia and the Canadian teams to be assigned to travel to Houston. Also northern California, Oregon, Washington and others.

TOUGH problem to fix…

–Michael Blake

What if, instead of teams, the regionals were assigned to a specific CMP? For example, if a team earned a CMP slot at the 2017 St. Louis regional, they would automatically qualify for the St. Louis CMP, regardless of where the team is actually located. This would keep the number of teams that qualify for each CMP roughly equal. Additionally, teams that want to ensure they can go to a particular CMP can do so by picking a corresponding regional.

I’m not sure how districts would play into this; if a district team travels to a regional and earns a CMP slot at the opposite venue their district is assigned, which event should they (initially) qualify for?

WOW… never realized Seattle-area teams have a 29 hour bus drive even to St. Louis.

That’s a crazy amount of time on a bus that you do TWICE within 6 days!

–Michael Blake

That is one of the reasons for this proposal, i.e. to spread the travel burden.

AGREED it would do that.

AND I really like this concept… :wink:

But, for my team the reality is if we qualified for CHAMPS and were assigned Detroit we wouldn’t be able to go for the reasons I previously posted.

I’ve got to believe the same constraints we have on travel caps applies to a lot of other teams.

–Michael Blake

No one drives that distance, all teams from PNW (and I’d hazard west coast) fly.

Usually there are a few convoys with pit stuff ect. but no students.

Buses aren’t the only option :slight_smile:

This was my immediate thought when I first heard about Championsplit. It allows for a nice, even division before the season even starts. To allow for teams to attend either championship without taking on an extra travel burder to attend their farther championship, there can be a wait list for both championships, and allow any team register for one or both of them.

The solution is simple: assign each district to a championship, and it gets however many spots at that district.

If a team qualifies for champs at a regional and their regional and district CMPs are different, give them a choice. If they choose the Regional CMP, give the district an extra spot for its assigned championship. If they choose their district’s championship, generate an extra wild card for the regional.

Ryan… AMAZING they can afford all those airplane tickets for students, mentors, school administration, team-parents… and then transportation (local bus?) around hotels and meals… AND they can get someone to trailer their equipment to St. Louis and back.

They must be spending per team in the $15,000.00-$20,000.00 range just for transportation if they’re taking their entire teams to CHAMPS!

–Michael Blake

Doesn’t your school district allow your team to fly (allowing you to save classtime in your case). So very many of the rest of us are forced to fly regardless (just check out the terminals at the St Louis Wednesday or Sunday of Champs). Many times a bus can cost a team more overall than airfare or if airfare costs more it’s just a matter of some additional fundraising on kid’s part to manage the cost increase. Many of the rest of us will never benefit from an in-state or nearby Champs bus drive trip opportunity. That said, if your district doesn’t allow for alternative air travel, it would be a shame to see you miss out should you face the travel inequity so many of us will continue to face in the coming years. Many teams (like us) don’t take the whole team to Champs in large part because of the cost burden on kids and team…

Joe… we could fly.

In fact, _ I FLY_ because I’m an adult with some money in my checking account… you won’t catch me on a charter bus (did it once at 2011 CHAMPS)… :wink:

But for the rest of the team taking the bus versus flying it is a case of higher cost, substantially higher, than taking a charter bus with an all-inclusive cost of $10,000.00 because we bring 35-45 people–EVERYBODY involved with the team goes.

–Michael Blake

+1, QFT

This makes a lot of sense. While it ends up generating an extra slot in the end, I don’t think it would be a frequent enough occurrence to result in too many teams qualifying.

Yep - I don’t know of anyone who drove their entire team from the PNW to St. Louis this year. There were several teams who drove trailers and rented out space to other teams (our forklift didn’t fit in our crate, so we sent it with 1510), but everyone else flew.

It ain’t cheap goin’ to champs from the PNW!