Answered: Clarification on Preventing Opponent Access to Driver Match Loads

Hey, Dylan from 7862Z here.
Earlier today during a classroom competition, an interesting conflict arose that our teacher and quite honestly almost every other student in 7862 (7th hour) was unsure of how to respond.
For one of our matches I was on the red alliance with a rookie robot with a malfunctioning arm, and so once the match started, rather than waiting on the parking tile I told him to go park in front of our opponent’s cone loader, to prevent them from having access to said cones. I proceeded to score our match loads, other cones, and mobile goals, and win the match, while the blue alliance had troubles due to my partner’s position in front of the loader and parking tiles.
Now, the reason i’m here is because an argument was brought up about our strategy of preventing the opposing alliance from accessing their driver loads being illegal. However, despite the feeling that the strategy probably should be illegal, we couldn’t find a rule explicitly stating that it was. We weren’t pinning or trapping the robot, nor were we hoarding cones (as being the Red Alliance, we don’t have access to their cones, so we’d be “hoarding” nothing). However, my partner’s actions were match affecting and likely could have changed the outcome of the match, so this conflict arose.
My question now is, since I couldn’t find clarification of this in the rulebook, am I either blind, or is this a real issue that needs addressed? And if it’s the latter, what’s the verdict?

Hi Dylan! In this case, the only rule referring to interaction with the opposing Loader is SG3a, quoted here for reference:

So, if the defensive robot in question never contacts the Cones on the opposing Loader, then this strategy is legal.

As explained in this year’s Referee Training video series, referees are always advised to enforce gameplay rules as they are written, not as a referee feels that they should be written. Generally, if there are no rules preventing a particular robot action, then that means the strategy is legal.