Age Rule Change.... Thoughts on this?

This new rule has just thrown a huge wrench in our program. Our district has 4 elem schools k-6 and 1 Junior High 7-9. This new rule kicks out the 6th graders from their schools and the 9th graders from the Junior High teams.

The elementary teams were 4-6 teams and this new rule eliminates the 6th grade teams from competing with their school which is about 1/3 of their total program.

The Junior High teams were 7-9 teams and again kicks out the 9th graders, again 1/3 of the total team. In order to have all the students who want to compete at our school we would have to establish an entirely new platform and compete at different events… not the best scenario

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I have come up with a solution…

All teams that are true school teams… meaning that the coach/mentor is employed at the school and all team members are students at that school and the school help fund/support the team then these teams should be able to follow the old rule which was very clear to which division the SCHOOL TEAM should compete in.

For all other teams – parent ran, home school , club teams … basically any team that doesn’t fall directly under a public or private school should abide by the new age rule.

I also think VEX should hold a contest to rename the divisions as this might help with how they can define which division the kids should play in.

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This is the rule:
Student - Anyone born after May 1, 2005 (i.e. who will be 14 or younger at VEX Worlds 2020). Eligibility
may also be granted based on a disability that has delayed education by at least one year. Students are
the individuals who design, build, repair, and program the Robot with minimal adult assistance.
• Elementary School Student - Any Student born after May 1, 2008 (i.e. who will be 11 or younger
at VEX Worlds 2020).
• Middle School Student - Any eligible Student that is not an Elementary School Student.

What about this is problemmatic? I doubt that they had that in mind when they made the rule. I think they were just responding to questions from the past asking for a definition of elementary, middle, and high school students. Do you have alternate wording that would fix the problem you are highlighting?


When I was on the GDC, this way by far my least favourite rule to work on. There were no good solutions; it was just a matter of choosing the least bad option. Limiting things based on grades worked better for North American schools, but then special wording had to be added for schools with different grade breakdowns. However, limiting things by grade didn’t take into account that the “grade” system is vastly different across the globe, not to mention the issues with non school affiliated teams as well as home school students. Age limits seem universal, but then you run into the issues that @Jamessalvant has pointed out.


I have two seventh grades that will be ineligible to compete next season. I’m fine with that. This is an international competition, and nothing is similar around the world like birthday. I don’t think there’s any other way to do it.

On the other end of it, I had 11 sixth graders this year that would have met the definition of elementary student had this been applied the year before.

As for the OP, the 6th graders can be on middle school teams and the 9th graders can do VRC. That’s a lot easier for the 6th graders than the 9th graders, but very possible and there’s an argument that all of your 7th - 9th graders should at least have access to VRC.

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It wasn’t clear on an international level. That’s why they had to change it.

There have been lots of questions over the years on the forum regarding this question. So, while it seeemed clear to me, it wasn’t to many others. Personal opinion is that they kept it nebulous in order to accomodate internationally - but at some point, maybe that wasn’t working out. Sometimes when you have nebulous rules, they are easy to exploit.


Age is probably the best way to do so, just because of all the different school systems internationally.

Yes this means for some schools it’s unfortunate and you may have to split teams or play up, but it’s unreasonable to really make different age classifications based on the system for each nation that participates in VEX IQ.


As one of the homeschool parents who was looking for clarification, I think this change is an improvement. To quote my wife, “If you want to stump a homeschooler, ask them what grade they are in.”

Interestingly, they also extended the maximum age for competition in this change. For the 2018-2019 game students had to be born after April 30, 2005. For the 2019-2020 game students have to be born after May 1, 2005.

Ironically, my wife and I have already started acquiring stuff to field a VRC team, so we will not be doing VIQC this year.

I have been impressed in the past at the level of thought that clearly went into writing and interpreting the rules. The rules for both VIQC and VRC this year look similarly well designed.



@DanMantz This age requirement change will be very disruptive for the teams in our organization.

We have 6 elementary schools (IQ), a junior high (VRC), and a high school (VRC), and a K-6 (IQ) and a 7-8 and 9-12 online academy (VRC).

I’ve already had parent who are aware of the change tell me that their student is likely to not participate in 6th grade rather than move to VRC.

We could move some of the elementary teams with students who are born January - April 2005 to IQ MS, but we don’t have any other IQ MS teams competing in our area. So then we have to run mixed events for IQ to accommodate this change and then we end up with 5th graders playing against 8th graders if they advance to state or Worlds. From my perspective that proposition is less attractive than the past system.

I can move my “older” Junior High (MS) students to HS teams, but they don’t want to be on teams with these 11th and 12th grade students, they are in 8th grade.

I would rather the few teams we send to Worlds be slightly out-classed by slightly older students than to have the entire program have to contort to fit into these new requirements.

I understand there were some issues where IQ teams that only had students from 6th grade that just because of the school they attended weren’t allowed to play against Elementary IQ teams that were the same age… I really like a change to the age/school rules accommodate those teams.

I would prefer a rule that read like this…
Elementary School Student - A Student enrolled in grade 5 or lower OR enrolled in grade 6 in a school, which includes grade 5, but not grade 7 (e.g., K-6, 2-6, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6) OR any Student born after May 1, 2008
Middle School Student – Any eligible Student that is not an Elementary School Student.

Middle School Student – A Student enrolled in grade 8 or lower OR enrolled in grade 9 in a school, which includes grade 8 but not grade 10 OR a Student born after May 1, 2005

High School Student – Any eligible Student that is not a Middle School Student.



There will be a need to define a “school sponsored organization” and then I think we should just take out the verbiage of Elementary and Middle divisions since these terms do not apply internationally maybe something like upper division and lower division or gears and sprockets


It’s time to implement the soccer style U12, U15 age groups…

I think determining eligibility by birth date is the best option available.

It will reduce disparity in age at larger events. The difference in maturity/skill is greater when comparing 6th graders to Freshman than when you compare Freshman to a Senior.

Like any decision, everything will normalize over time.

Who will decide eligibility?
may also be granted based on a disability that has delayed education by at least one year.
EP or REC Foundation?

I didn’t see this, but the old rule would have cut off a lot of my 8th graders. The new rule cuts off a couple as well. By removing the grade I think they had to move it up.

The EP would have nothing to do with the registration of the team, that’s between the team and RECF.

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Loads of sixth graders do VIQC. You can certainly find a few to team together as a MS team. Also, as a coach, this seems like a parent who is looking for an out. Usually best to let them go.

Your blended events will not be overrun by MS teams, as there aren’t many in the area.

Your 5th graders will be on elementary teams. Having a middle school students does not make your entire organization a middle school organization. 1234A can be elementary while 1234B is middle school. Your 5th grade elementary teams will participate in the elementary state tournament and worlds, even if they qualify at blended events.

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So we have a similar issue for VRC - a student who is 14 after May 1, 2005 is considered a middle school student, even if the student is in high school.

I have no problems with that - but others might.

The VRC age range for MS to HS participants is looking like it’s less of an issue for our program since we have a Junior High that is 7th and 8th grade. Schools that have 9th grade in their middle schools may have problems with this new rule for MS/HS ages.

It’s looking like the IQ rule for Elementary/MS ages will affect about half of our 6th grade students participating in VEX IQ.

So the “Elementary” becomes a misnomers, “Elementary IQ” should be renamed to “IQ 11U”.

I really think this problem will come to a head when some teams qualify for regional/state competitions thinking their team is Elementary IQ and then at some point they are told they are really a MS team.

I just don’t see the point in excluding half of the 6th grade students. I guess I don’t know what the impetus of the change was. If the change is to increase the number of MS IQ teams, then it hits the mark. If the change is to simplify the eligibility rules, I’m all for that… just bump out the date of the cut-off so it includes 90% of 6th graders and then it will be great.


I think everyone is making this too difficult.
Two simple changes can avoid all the difficulty:
1.) Lose the high/middle/elementary school wording
2.) Base the eligibility on age, with a 1-1.5 year ‘fluid zone’. Ie. Allow a 14 year old, or an 11 year old student to choose which program they’d like to participate in.