Yellow / Red Cards Assigned in 2019



there is no indication from the nearby referees or the head referee that there is any penalty being incurred. The contact really seemed like normal gameplay to me, and the interaction happened while we were being defended.

What alarms me so far from this season is how subtle several of the yellow and red card offenses are this year. The case of the drive team member stepping over a closed gate seems harsh to give a card for, but it’s also been a FRC rule for years and should be followed.

HOWEVER, I think cards should only be given in matches for actions that are either dangerous or with obvious contempt for the rules and spirit of the game. I think FIRST has done a good job of this in the past, but if an entire match can be played without either alliance or any spectators noticing what the card was given for, it shouldn’t be a card in the first place. Was 118’s hatch ejection really strategic, intentional, or dangerous? Not really - it was a robot malfunction. It should warrant a foul, or maybe a tech foul, but certainly not a red card.

If a robot spinning completely out of control doesn’t warrant a red card (and it shouldn’t), neither should that offense.

I’m obviously biased here since my team was hurt by one of these rules. But I will say that I can only remember maybe half a dozen match-outcome-affecting red cards being given in a SEASON over the last few years. There’s already been close to that number this year, and it’s only week one. Maybe you can argue that teams just have to learn to deal with these rules, but, to me, handing out so many cards for relatively minor offenses seems to run contrary to the values FIRST promotes.


While i have 0 context for the cards in general, heres what i think based on the cards i saw at Mount Vernon:

Right here it looks like you are above the alliance wall. When in the HAB Zone, that is not allowed, and it is a card if climbing (G12). Timestamp is 2:12 if others want to look, youll see the ref flag it after the elevator goes down.

Edit: updated the photo to better show that the climb mech was in use before the elevator went down.


I understand what the offense was - my point is that it is so easy to miss while watching and seems so minor even when you’re looking for it that it should not warrant a yellow card.


To quote you:

If i noticed it, is it minor? Im definitely not a ref or anyone who makes those kinds of calls/trained to see it…

Its also not minor, thats a risk to the driveteams. Falling bots hurt, just ask the FTA at MV.


GeeTwo, I’m not seeking where he got intent on YC/RC. I’m curious where he saw reference to the intent of the rule itself.


Yes, that is the moment we went over, and it’s a camera at a low angle, so it looks much worse than it is. We went back to the practice field and measured it, and the station wall is at 78" and we were at exactly 78" plus maybe an inch of bounce, all while the actual robot was stationary. That means we were over for a fraction of a second. Granted, if we’d done that while were on top of HAB3, then by all means, that’s on us, but this doesn’t strike me as a egregiously unsafe.

Also, to your point of the climbing mechanism being used while it’s that high is incorrect. We put it in position right above the platform, but we’re not being lifted at all until that tower is down.

Our point is not that it shouldn’t be illegal, just that the punishment seems overly harsh, when we were not actively lifting our robot, and it’s just a normal foul when doing the same thing on the loading zone, 3" lower.


If I had to guess at the intent of this rule, it’s likely something that aligns with the “no banging on the glass” rule that was introduced this year.

Let’s take a look at the rule we’re working with and try our best to get intent. I’ll bring the other rule to clarify my guess.

G12. Duck in the HAB ZONES. A ROBOT with its BUMPERS fully in either HAB ZONE may not extend above the ALLIANCE STATION WALL, i.e. more than 6 ft. 6 in. (~198 cm) above the carpet.

Violation: FOUL. If repeated in a MATCH or while climbing the HAB PLATFORM, YELLOW CARD.

H16. Don’t bang on the glass. Team members may never strike or hit the ALLIANCE STATION plastic windows.

Violation: Verbal warning. If subsequent violations, YELLOW CARD.

I seem to remember the game reveal stream specifically calling out the banging on the glass as this is a bit of culture change. At the event I attended this past weekend, there was an instance when the sandstorm fell causing a slight delay while the FTA fixed it.

These rules both seem to look at addressing that issue. A foul in the hab zone except while climbing suggests there’s something specific about the height of the alliance wall they’re concerned with. With the rule relating to banging on the glass there as well, I’m guessing the concern is the sandstorm mechanism.

If you’re reaching above the alliance wall during a climb, there’s a better chance you’ll interact with this and cause potential field damage.

Now, I don’t know WHY this is a card. I don’t believe they’d make it a card just to make a tight restriction on size. But, this is the best explanation I’ve given myself to understand that. (I was also curious when I read through the rules)


That wasnt a fraction of a second. To your height, the camera warps it so ill have take your word on that. The angle the camera shows is much higher, and coupled with the ref’s flag pointed me directly to it.

The best I can think of is that you interacting with the level 3 hab is intent, and intent counts as trying to climb. QAing is your best bet to clarify.


The moment we went over was the bounce (as seen here, sorry for low quality). Before and after the bounce, we were at the exact height limit.

And again, we agree that we broke the rules, but was that bounce so egregious that we needed to be yellow carded?


Exact is always pushing it. Like i said, im not a ref, im not anyone who can make the rules, but from the angle the video shows, you were above for over 1.5s which would break G12.

I doubt FIRST wants any unnecessary risks, no matter how small, to the drive teams or anyone around the field. From what i saw at Vernon, it seems like they were told to be strict with G12.


Just to clarify, in this clip, only the very apex of the extension is about an inch over the wall. It’s not the entire 1.5s that the elevator is up. During that 1.5s period, the tip of our manipulator is at 78".

And we’re aware that exact is pushing it. It was an oversight on our part from an earlier, larger, intake design,. It was fixed as soon as we were made aware of the problem (we didn’t know this was an issue until we got the YC/RC).


I understand that it was a minor instance, and I understand your frustration. But a rule’s a rule. It doesn’t matter if it’s incidental or unintentional or doesn’t pose a danger or doesn’t give you an advantage. The penalties for R12 violation are clearly delineated in the rule book, and IMO they were applied fairly given the circumstances. Yeah it sucks that you were carded but I believe that it’s as much a design constraint as the 30" extension rule. I’m glad you were able to rectify the issue though.


Once again, I agree with all the things you’re saying. It’s a rule, it was violated, it was correctly applied.

My point is that the purpose of a yellow or red card is to discourage unsafe behavior or conduct that hurts the nature of the game. The blue box uses the word “egregious” in the definition of both, and it doesn’t seem like violating that rule fills any of those criteria. I’m not asking if we broke the rule, warranting us a yellow card. I’m asking if the rule makes sense generally.


Honestly, I figured the yellow card was in place for going above the alliance wall was to protect the sandstorm mechanism that is mounted above it. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to risk robots getting tangled in the mechanism and damaging it.


Got it. In that case, I do think that this specific penalty does make some sense. Any other year, probably not. But as @Alak mentioned, there’s the sandstorm mechanism up there which stands to take damage from overextended robots. Seems logical to penalize any actions that may lead to damage there.


So I was pretty confused when you said the yellow card hurt your ranking, which yellow cards shouldn’t do, until I realized you already had a yellow card from earlier for the exact same rule violation, regardless of if you agreed with the rule or not you were definitely aware of how the rule was being enforced and did not do enough to correct it.

Now I agree that some rules need to be reworded or intent needs to come more so into play, the 118 red card for instance, but with yellow cards they exist to warn you about not doing an egregious offense again, and until your last quals match either your mechanism was corrected enough or referees were not catching the violation. Either way even a momentary infraction of the rules is an infraction as my 118 example above states.


The original violation was for the same rule under different circumstances. Our arm had broken, and the elevator was manually driven up to full height to keep it from damaging any other part of the robot when it went down. The robot has a semi-autonomous climb routine that raises the elevator, but not to its full extension. We were unaware that we were close to the limit using that routine. We had previously climbed in 9 matches without hearing a peep.


well, that would mean you would be deliberately trying to cross the wall, and even though you may not have jumped or repeatedly tried to cross, this could probably be an ‘egregious’ violation as stated in the manual, possibly resulting to a red card
IMO, this rule is very dumb. There are too many instances where the rule could be either enforced or not enforced, and even encouraged.


Thanks for clarifying that. That’s more reasonable than I had realized.


The Head Ref at NE Granite State clearly had not gotten the message. He stepped over the wall dozens of times in the ~1/2 day I watched. @NEFIRST please remind the officials to lead by example in the safety rules.