Last weekend at the McKamy M.S. competition in Texas, a team lost a tread during a match. It wasn’t match affecting for the other teams, though the robot losing the tread had difficulty scooping up balls. The refs cited the lost tread as a violation of <SG3>, expansion beyond the 18 inch cube. While my personal opinion is that this is an insane interpretation of <SG3>, it still qualifies as someone’s interpretation. However the refs then decided that a penalty needed to be applied for violating <SG3> and pulled 4 balls out of the low goal for that teams alliance. I can find nothing in the rules that allows refs to arbitrarily remove balls from a team’s goal. To say the teams and parents were outraged is an understatement.
So if a part falls off, does it violate <SG3>? The head ref was asked about caps nuts. He said we were taking it to the extreme asking that. But not really. Where is the line drawn? A caps nut is ok. What about 3 nuts and a screw? A gear? How many sections of tread need to fall off before the line is crossed? And what are the criteria to assess how many balls come out for lost parts? I’m getting frustrated again just typing this. All in all the McKamy refs were making things up as they go, and our teams won’t participate there again.