Answered: How to address improper scoring at an event

Here was our situation:

After a few qualifying matches, my students believed that the refs were not scoring the balls correctly. Our interpretation of the rules were that any ball in a scoring zone, not touching a robot of the same alliance color, should be scored. After returning home from the competition, I found several threads verifying that this is the correct scoring system.

The refs at the event were only scoring balls that were on the gray mats. Anything that a robot was holding was not counted. Thus, an alliance could place the white bonus ball on one of their robots, sit there for the 30 seconds and not do anything with it, for which the refs did not count those 10 points for the opposing alliance. Other scenarios we saw involved teams with large capacity hoppers would simply load up with footballs and sit there and some dropped the balls outside of the playing field on the sides where the field walls were lower.

When I asked the ref about the scoring, his response was that’s how they have been scoring all the matches, so they are being consistent. I understand the need to be consistent, but is consistency more important than being correct?

Should they have changed to the correct scoring system part way through the qualifiers?

If so, should they have replayed the previous matches or just made an announcement that from this point forward, this is how scoring will be done, as per the rules?

For future events, should the refs hold a drivers or coaches meeting to run down a few rule clarifications (scoring, penalties, we will call you x amount of times for a match before being disqualified, etc.) so everyone is on the same page.

As a coach/mentor/teacher, what should I do in these situations?

It was a very frustrating day for a lot of people. There were many issues with vexnet field communication and crystal interference. The event was already over an hour behind schedule. People were getting tired.

I did my best to argue my issues in a calm, professional manner. Towards the end, I don’t think I succeeded 100%. I didn’t go berserk or “postal”, just raised my voice a bit and started to get more stern with my tone and words.

I actually felt bad for the event administrator. I think he was doing his best, trying to play peacemaker between a ref (who thinks he knows everything) and a coach (who also thinks he knows everything).

In the end, some of the issues were resolved, peace was restored, and I had a pleasant conversation with the admin and ref afterwords. All is good in the neighborhood!

Sorry for the rant.

Yes. It is unfortunate that these errors occurred, but the right thing to do would have been to switch to the correct scoring system that is in the VEX Clean Sweep manual.

A decision like this is left to the discretion of the tournament organizers. In the interest of the event schedule, I would expect that matches would not be replayed, unless there were only a handful and they all had egregious scoring errors.

Yes, this should be absolutely happening.

If you notice a scoring error, calmly try and address it with the head referee. If the head referee does not agree with you and you are positive it is an error, try addressing the issue with the tournament organizer.


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule (I saw you were in Pittsburgh this weekend for FRC) to answer my questions.