Answered: Lotion 'anti-static' field treatment?

During a recent VEX In the Zone competition, several members of one team were applying heavy amounts of lotion to their hands, and then wiping it in the scoring zones of the field. It was very obvious that they were not just using lotion and inadvertently getting it on the field. They were squeezing alot of lotion into their hands, going directly to the field and then applying the lotion to the field, making lasting “palm prints” in the scoring zones. After multiple applications, the greasy palm prints were permanent fixtures throughout the competition.

Our team brought it to the attention of the head referee. He asked the team’s coach what they were doing. The team did not deny doing it. The coach claimed it was “anti-static” treatment for the field. The referee advised them to stop doing this, and I think he may have advised them that a penalty would be in order if they continued. It appears he did not notify any other team officials or judges about it during the competition.

Our team would like to request an official ruling on the use of lotion on the field as an “anti-static” mechanism.

From what I have been able to find, this is not permitted. VEX allows only certain brand and type of “anti-static” spray be applied, to a competition field and only by competition officials. Team members may apply anti-static directly to their robot.
The chemical composition of those sprays is intended to leave no discernible residue, and is clearly very different than hand lotion.

We believe that the existing safety rules prohibit modifying or leaving any residue on tiles, or altering tiles in a way that effects function. It is my personal opinion that the lotion was applied to make the cones 'slide" into the score zones when pushed, rather than topple over, and to reduce the effort needed to push, rather than lift a cone over the score zone obstacle.

It is unclear what the team thought the application of lotion accomplished, or whether it caused any alteration in outcome. Nonetheless, for our own information, and for future reference, we would like to know whether applying hand lotion to the field is permitted.

No, applying hand lotion to the field is not permitted.

Any anti-static field treatment applied to a field or robot should be done in a way that does not affect gameplay, damage field elements, or leave excessive residue behind. While anti-static lotions do exist, a spray such as Techspray 1726-QT satisfies these requirements much better than lotion. One application on the morning of an event generally provides adequate and equal protection for all teams, rather than applying it selectively before an individual team’s matches.