OP (found here):
I am part of a team from Northern California and had a question regarding skills only tournaments.
From the August newsletter to all California teams: "The latest we will allow events will be the weekend of February 10th. We are no longer letting events to take place the two weeks before our state championships begin and there will be no additional events running while we are tied up with the state championship or following the state events. This includes last minute skills only days."
In essence, we are no longer able to hold skills only events close to the skills cutoff date (3/12/2017 according to RobotEvents) and instead have to have them by February 10th, a month earlier.
We were surprised when we saw this because according to the Offical 2017-2018 VRC qualification criteria (on http://www.roboticseducation.org ), "Skills Only events may be run after a State/Regional/Provincial/National Championship if it occurs
prior to March 12, 2018, and adheres to all other official qualifying criteria." Moreover, skills only tournaments have been legal to run the weekend before the cutoff for the past years.
Thus, there is a discrepancy with the rules in California (at least Norcal) and the official guide.
Is this intended? We interpreted the rules to mean that we could host skills only tournaments until March but that was thrown into doubt when we read the California RECF newsletter. If the latter is correct, that would mean we would have a month less to prepare skills to potentially qualify into the World Championship, which severely disadvantages us compared to regions who follow the official qualification criteria on the RECF site.
Thank you so much for your time,
Hi, @Ryan M. That is a good question. I am not entirely sure why no Skills Only events will be allowed after the State Championship, but I do know that this year, due to a rule change, they will not be as helpful as last year.
Based on the rules quoted below from the VRC Qualification Criteria (PDF found here ), it is legal to host a Skills Only event after the State/Regional Championship, but now they can only qualify teams to Worlds through the World Top 35 for high school/Top 15 for middle school, not through the Worlds spots allocated to each region.
Here is some of what the VRC Qualifying Criteria says about this (emphasis and bracketed text mine):
VRC Official Qualifying events (Tournaments, Leagues, and Skills-Only) must meet the following criteria:
Be an event held between June 1, 2017, and two weeks prior to the State/Regional/Provincial Championship event for which they will qualify.
(among other criteria.)
• Skills Only events may be run after a State/Regional/Provincial/National Championship if it occurs prior to March 12, 2018, and adheres to all other official qualifying criteria. [just as you said]
• Skills Challenge scores for all official qualifying events will be included in the World Skills Standings on RobotEvents.com.
Top Robot Skills Challenge scores will be used to fill the remaining capacity of the State/Province Championship event. Top Robot Skills Challenge teams are listed in Robot Events on the World Skills Standings page. The team(s) will be notified upon the conclusion (within 72 hours) of the last official VRC event in the state if their score has qualified that team to the State/Regional/Province Championship. Scores posted after the top Robot Skills teams have been invited will no longer be used to invite additional teams. Scores earned at events that occur after the State Championship will also be posted to the World Skills Standings, but will not be used to qualify teams for state allocation spots.
The highest, unqualified team on the Robot Skills Challenge Score from the World Robot Skills Standings will get the spot and be invited within 72 hours upon the conclusion of the State/Regional/Province Championship. Scores from the State/Regional/Province Championship will be included on the World Robot Skills Standings for consideration in this process.
The qualification criteria also says (on page 1):
Note: From time to time, the REC Foundation may make an exception to one of these criteria to better support a growing State/Province/Region/Nation. For more information, please contact your REC Foundation Regional Support Manager.
I am not sure about Skills scores earned one week before the State/Regional/Provincial Championship, but I plan to ask about this in the Q&A soon. [EDIT: I have posted it now. Here is the link.]
Based on the qualifying criteria, it seems to me like Skills Only events held less than two weeks before their state/region's State/Regional Championship, but still before it, might not count as official events. If so, they would likely be in the same category as Skills Only events held after March 12th. (I am not sure about this, but I plan to ask about it in the Q&A soon.) [EDIT: I did, in the same post linked above.]
I agree that the new rule puts teams in your region (and other regions that host their State Championship earlier in the year) at a disadvantage compared to regions that host their State/Regional Championships later in the year.
I do know there must have been a reason for this rule change, but I am not entirely sure what it is yet. I do have two ideas:
- Maybe many of the Event Partners and State Championship organizers want their process of deciding who qualifies for Worlds to be over with three days after the State Championship. The World Top 35/15 is determined by VEX, so that would not require the involvement of the Regional Support Manager or the people running the State Championship (although it would involve the people running the Skills Only events and the teams competing at them).
- Maybe some regions needed their time off after their State/Regional Championship to be longer than the five weeks from March 12th to mid-April, but VEX and the Event Partners did not want there to be different Skills deadlines for different regions, and so they made the Skills deadline for regionally-allocated spots be the State Championship.
I alos have a guess about the reason for the email sent to the California teams:
From what I have read on the forum, it sounds like California will have a huge number of teams who qualify for Worlds through Skills, so most teams who could get into the top 35/15 would have already qualified for Worlds by the time their Regional Championship finishes.
If most of the teams that could reach the Top 35/15 had already qualified for Worlds by the time the State Championships were over, I imagine there might be less demand for Skills Only events held after that point. (On the other hand, there would certainly be several California teams who would want another chance to increase their worldwide ranking, like 7700R and 86868.)
P.S. If my interpretation of the rules is correct, it is likely possible to qualify for Worlds through a Skills score you earn outside your home region.
If so, then if you were able to compete at an event in another state (or in a region of California that hosts its State Championship later), and wanted ro do this, you might be able to get onto the top 35/15 through your Skills score at that event, even if it is after the State Championship for Northern California. I am not sure about this, but I have posted a Q&A question about it, and I predict that it could receive an answer relatively soon.
EDIT: I added a link to my Q&A question about Skills Only events held less than two weeks before a State Championship.