To Team #254 The Cheesy Poofs

If you are not a member of the Cheesy Poofs, please do not reply to this. Only Team 950 and Team 254 are involved.

In qualifying match #63 on Friday, team 950 committed an act that may or may not have betrayed a prior agreement with the Cheesy Poofs. I’m not speaking for all of 950, but just as myself. I apologize to the Cheesy Poofs for what happened and I congratulate them on their wonderful finish. If any of the Poofs have a comment on what happened, I’d like to hear it.

Please, I ask again that only members of team #254 reply. If you don’t know what happened in this match, then it doesn’t concern you; please let the Poofs speak their piece.

Well…since this concerns almost none of us – only 16 of 3,706 members – how about you just send members of team 254 a private message?

Well, since it WAS a public message…

I want to make sure everyone is clear that ‘prior arrangements’ with your opponent violates the spirit of competition and gracious professionalism. FIRST has made it clear on the ilearning message board that it is not okay to agree, for instance, to leave each other’s stacks alone.

In the interest of full disclosure, 481 was guilty of accepting such an arrangement in our first Sacramento match. Immediately after the match we had a team discussion to make sure the driving team understood this rule.

Team 481

I would like to know where the ilearning boards say that “prior arrangements” are against the spirit of FIRST and Gracious Professionalism.

I, for one, do not feel that this is the case. As long as teams do not “fix” the match (in terms of outcome) why shouldn’t teams work together to increase the total score and QPs? It seems to me that this is part of what FIRST has been trying to promote since the 2000 competition.

It is my understanding that FIRST has no official stance on “agreements” as long as they do not result in a pre-determined winner.

-Mr. Van
Coach, Team 599

Well, I may have ‘misremembered’ the specifics of the response, but the one I found is below. Although this person specifically asks about forcing a tie, I firmly believe that FIRST would give the same answer to any type of on-the-field cooperation.

Dean often compares FIRST to the real world of competition. In that world, competitors might help each other on a project, but they are not allowed to split up the market.



Posts: 1
Registered: Jan, 2003

“rigging” the game Posted: Jan 12, 2003 3:47 PM

If the two alliances decide before the beginning of a match how they will play the game and execute a strategy where the two alliances cooperate with each other to acheive a tie, are the two alliances violating the spirit of FIRST or the maxim of “gracious professionalism”?


Posts: 1,514
Registered: Dec, 2002

Re: “rigging” the game Posted: Jan 12, 2003 9:28 PM



Ah, I see your point. I would agree that “rigging” a match, where the outcome is pre-determined is definitely against the spirit of the game.

If opponents agree, however, not to knock each other’s stacks over (for example) and still compete as hard as possible (to get on the HDPE, push boxes into scoring zones, etc.) it seems to me that they are simply using the rules of the game for the benefit of all.

Consider the following analogy: Runners are competing in a race. There are several heats and the 8 best times of all the heats are going to be eligible for a final race. The rules of the race allow for runners to elbow, trip and push each other. Someone realizes that if runners do not engage in elbowing, tripping or pushing, they will have a better time.

Should they make the suggestion to other runners in the race?

If they do, will they be able to trust the other runners who agree with them?

Should a rule be made stating that you must push, elbow and trip? That you can not push, elbow or trip?

These are only some of the questions brought up by FIRST’s unique scoring system. (Another is in elimination rounds when it is an advantage to lose with as few points as possible. That system makes the finals really a “best of 1” for each round!)

If teams decide that “agreements” are “non-graciously professional” scores will be very low in upcoming regionals and at nationals and it will be a very, very, very rare stacking robot that will be effective against a “stack knocker”. If on the other hand, teams decide that using whatever is within the rules to maximize QPs, then stacking robots have a chance and scores will go up.

In Sacramento, the students on our team decided that they would try to maximize QPs by not knocking down human player stacks. Sometimes this worked wonders - other times stacks were knocked over and scores were low. In every case, the driver/operators/strategists competed hard and I believe the team learned something about trust and competition - which is part of what FIRST is all about.

I would like to know what others think… Perhaps we should start a new thread somewhere else?

-Mr. Van
Coach, Team 599