Why Give Open Bids to the Championship?

Hey guys,

So I know that there are 3 ways to make it to the Championships: Win a Regional, win an Award (Chairmans/EI/Rookie), or get an open-lottery bid.

It seems though, that every year there are teams that everyone says “should be at the Championship”. There are always teams with amazing robots that either get unlucky, or miss out on winning a regional by a close loss in the finals. Those teams are devastated that they can’t compete again.

On that note, there are plenty of teams that are just “handed” a spot in the Championship by lottery.

In my opinion, because there are more spots in the Championship than regional winners, that FIRST should award a Championship bid to more categories than just the aforementioned ones. There are so many teams who embody what FIRST is all about who would definitely make Atlanta a better experience. It would also courage more teams to strive to meet those goals, instead of just vying for that lottery pick.

Robot Awards: Industrial Design, Motorola Quality or Engineering Excellence
Team Awards: Gracious Professionalism Award, Team Spirit Award, Entrepreneurship Award
or even give it to the #1 seed.

If these winners happen to overlap more than expected, then yes, FIRST can give out open bids to fill up the gaps in the Championship.


Personally I’m glad FIRST leaves some spots open to general teams. Teams should be allowed to go at least once every 4 years because every student deserves a chance to experience it regardless of a team’s funding situation (complicated robot, booking reservations at an elevated price because it’s only 2 weeks away, etc), mechanical abilities, or the fact that other veteran teams come in and snipe their regionals every year. Without the lottery some teams would NEVER get a chance to go to championships, and let’s be honest – FRC is, and should be, about opportunity more than it is about competition.

It’s not totally open. FIRST tries to keep it a little fair and give every team a chance to attend every couple years. If you didn’t go to the Championship in 2009 you get first dibs on the open spots. I’m sure there were more than enough teams to fill all the open spots back in October.

For large teams it is a lot of work to plan a trip to Atlanta in 1 or 2 weeks. Many teams couldn’t attend just because of being unable to get plane tickets.

I think that losing the open registration spots will be a natural consequence of the growth in number of teams. There’s already too many teams for every team to get to go once every four years (1808/4=452 teams per year, which is more spots than are available). And that’s before you consider that there are some teams that will qualify every year. Look at Michigan for example, with teams now needing to qualify for the state championship.

There are, however, many oportunities at championships for teams to go even without their robot. If/when championships becomes by qualification only, there’s still the conferences, volunteering, checking out matches, meeting teams, and a number of other reasons to attend.


Due to the inspirational experience of participating in the Championship, I think the current system of having open slots as well as teams qualify based upon winning the regional, Chairman’s Award, Engineering Inspiration, and Rookie All Star Award should not be changed. However, as the number of teams increases every year this system may not be sufficient due to the limited space at the championship. When the current system becomes insufficient I would like to see a points system used that is similar to what Michigan uses to qualify teams for the state championship for the Championship. This way a team that is competitive i.e. (#1 seed, regional finalist, wins a technical award) can still compete at the championship.

There have been numerous systems used over the years to split up the open registration.

  1. Anybody, regardless of attending a regional or not. Ended sometime around 2000, IIRC, due to the number of regionals climbing to the point where it could end.
  2. Even/odd. Ended around 2002, IIRC.
  3. Points system, based on awards won the previous year. The more points, the earlier. Ended roughly 2004.
  4. Time since last Championship. Still in use.

Pre-qualifiers and at-event qualifiers should not be changed. These teams deserve it. (Even though some of them do take up multiple slots.;))

If someone can come up with a reasonably fair way to balance out the open registration and the “So close, yet so far” teams, that would be great. (Ditto for if somebody can come up with a good reason why FIRST didn’t start moving teams off the waitlist until Week 3 at least this year…)

I think the open qualification system is important. Teams should be able to experience the championship at least once every 2 years if they so have the funding to do so, and making the Championship qualification-only would change FIRST into purely a robotics competition, significantly raising the stakes for every team at the regional level.

That’s how FTC does it. To make it to the world championship you have to win a regional or the Inspire Award (there isn’t even an Engineering Inspiration Award). The Inspire Award is the FTC equivalent of Chairman’s. There are some teams that qualify almost every year (mostly the teams that qualify every year have excellent Inspire Award credentials). The competitiveness of FTC Champs is ramped up considerably from regionals without hurting the values of FIRST, so yes, I do think doing qualification on merit only would be a good idea.

Does the Championship have room for 6 or 8 divisions? I never had a chance to go so I can’t tell for sure, but this seems like it would solve the issue entriely.

I don’t think there is room. You might get 8 fields onto the floor, but then FTC and FLL have to find a new place, and 8 fields worth of spectators need to find seating.

This was one of the reasons I quit FTC, and my least favorite part of the program other than the Kit of Parts. In FTC, it’s actually a lot worse. You have to be the Alliance Captain. Your Championship fate isn’t determined by how good you are, but how good your qualifying schedule is. The first pick isn’t guaranteed a spot, so you’re SOL if you’re the best robot at the competition and seeded 3rd because you had no partner one match.

If you make it qualification only, you have to make it more fair.

I would agree with that. The qualification process for FTC is screwed up, though I’ve never heard of a first pick not making it, and most second picks do go, but it’s still really annoying and there are amazing robots every year that don’t qualify. My point is more that a strict qualification process for FRC wouldn’t destroy the values of FIRST, especially a fairer/better one.

All that goes out the window next year, as the championship moves to St. Louis. That would be an interesting thought. 6 divisions, and then on Einstein they play everyone plays everyone once, and the two alliances with the most wins, and for tie breaks you look at the record against between the two. But i doubt the spacial gains will be that large seeing that both are football stadiums.

for all those people talking about how every team should get a chance. ask FLL kids if they even know about the World Championships.

The fact FIRST is moving championships 2 weeks later is a good thing, But getting into/out of St. Louis is a much harder task (They aren’t a hub for airlines like Atlanta was for Airtran/Delta) than one might think.

because Championship is two weeks later, i propose this program

A weighted system where:
40% of your total points would count on how many years your team has not attended championships,

40% of your total points would count on how your robot performed at the events it attended. if you attended more than one event. this amount would be the average of the events you attended. Things that would be considered in this category would include your ranking at the regional, your credentials for that ranking (seeding score, coopertition score, wins losses etc.), your performance in the elimination rounds, and the awards you won (each award would have it’s own point value).

20% of your total points would count on your performance in previous years. the criteria for this would be the same as for the 40% category.

FIRST would be able to determine which teams qualify almost immediately if they keep the data up-to-date in their system. Teams would now have 3-4 weeks to plan their trip to Championships, and this would ensure we get teh best competition possible while giving every team a great chance to attend championships once every four years.

P.S. You would still get a automatic bid if you won your regional, or got Chairmans, EI or Rookie All-Star.

If I had the powers of saying how you get into Champs:

That year’s Regional Chairmans win, Regional EI win, and Regional Rookie AllStar and Highest Rookie Seed win are Automatic Bids.
That year’s Coopertition award winners get automatic bid.
That year’s Judges award winners get automatic bids.
That year’s Regional champs, disctrict champs, state champs are Automatic Bids.
Last year’s Divisional Winners are automatic bids.
Charimans Award winning teams unable to win the Chairmans via the new rules because they have won Chairmans in the last 4 years, have automatic bids.
Last year’s Rookie All Star Winner gets automatic bid.

Open spots are given via first come, first serve, with priority on teams with longest drought away from champs.

And the difference between two football stadiums is sideline space at best.

You might be able to get 6 divisions, if you moved FTC and FLL elsewhere. You might be able to get 8, if you brought in 2 more fields and played geometry games and roped off divisional seating. (Also: pulled the lower stands all the way back. You’ll pay for that in reduced seating, though.)

There are places to put FTC and FLL. There’s a theater in the America’s Center that might have enough room for one of them. There’s the America’s Ballroom that might be able to handle one of them, with pits. The convention halls could probably handle the rest of the pits alongside the FRC pits. But it’d be a tight fit.

It’s going to be a major PITA to figure that out, especially if you don’t want complaints. I don’t think they’ll expand for a while yet.

That would be a lot less dramatic than a single elimination tournament, since you don’t know how much each match you watch matters. If Einstein went to more than 4 but less than 8, there would have to be some change in game dynamic to accommodate it.

lottery: n. an activity or endeavor the success of which is regarded as a matter of fate or luck

I dont get what you mean by lottery… it isn’t a random system at all. I suggest you read the qualification rules a little more closely.

Teams that DID NOT GO last year, had the opportunity to register and pay starting October 1st. Teams that DID GO last year had the opportunity to register and play starting October 22nd. 1511 has “qualified” through this method every single year but the rookie year. Its not a random system. The system opens up at noon, and the first teams to “click and pay” buy their spot. Its like buying tickets at ticket master. And I don’t consider ticket master a lottery. It is NOT like the college housing lottery system or the state lotteries… its not a random drawing of team numbers.

Simply put if you have the money, and you have the will to sit there at noon and click away, you WILL very very likely get in.

We feel championships is very important for every one of our students to experience, and like to go every year, so we built a program and structure our fundraising so that we have money to be able to attend every year.

Honestly, for me I dont get the teams that have the attitude that they “have to win to attend”. For me FIRST isn’t about winning. Its about the experience. You are just going to make it harder and more stressful on your team to have to come up with the travel arrangements and funds to register and travel in a really short amount of time. We save a lot of money by booking everything way back in September.

I know one day FRC will have so many regionals that they wont have room for open bids, and it may not be all that far from today. But until that day, we will continue to try to keep the stress low, and the experiences high, and register through the open system (even though we have actually been fortunate enough to qualify every year).

I guess I didn’t explain myself clearly in my original post. Yes, it isn’t a random lottery, but it does allow teams to go to the Championship based on sitting at a computer and buying a ticket opposed to earning their way in.

Now I’m not suggesting that only the best teams should go to the Championship. As I suggested, in my opinion, teams who exhibit the greatest Gracious Professionalism and Team Spirit deserve to go to the Championship over a team who happened to have a credit card in October.

I understand that FIRST isn’t all about winning but there are many ways to exhibit the characteristics of a team which FIRST should promote without having a huge budget and many mentors with engineering experience.

I think the “at large bids” is a great idea; to give judges the ability to send teams who might not have those resources, and despite everything, did surprisingly well in the regional competition.