As a number of other threads stated, the number of G20 yellow & red cards issued to teams playing defense has skyrocketed this weekend. It does not appear that the amount of defense being played has increased the order of magnitude required to fully explain this huge spike in violations. Since Team Update 19 made no changes to any rules, it appears that there was a sweeping change to how referees have been instructed to call G20 violations. There are threads to discuss the rule itself and its implications on gameplay, but this post is not about that.
I have a number of concerns regarding wide-reaching changes being made to the rule that are 1) not being revealed to teams and 2) not even announced to teams.
Teams are being penalized for actions that they had no reason to think were illegal under the canonical interpretation of the rules that was used at most events earlier this season. Imagine spending an entire event playing legal defense, doing nothing differently at your second event, where the rules are exactly same, and BOOM, yellow card! While this does occasionally happen to teams due to varying interpretations of the rules between events, this is wide-reaching and systematic. This is not inspiring. This is not a good team experience.
Additionally, there is an unfair advantage for teams whose drive coaches or drive team mentors are referees. These teams may have access to information about the rules that other teams do not. While this information about interpretation is apparently meant to be private (and not disclosed to teams), I would be surprised if it does not subconsciously impact the advice some referee-mentors give. What self-respecting mentor would recommend their team play a strategy that they have reason to believe would give them a yellow/red card?
Changes to the rules as significant as this one should not be secrets. I know that HQ and the overwhelming majority of refs have the best interests of the students at heart, but this is not equitable and negatively impacts student experiences.