Answered: Rule T03 Interpretation

At a tournament this past weekend, an alliance team placed their robot on the field for the third Finals elimination match. They then called a time-out, which was granted. Shortly after they called the time-out, I instructed them they would need to compete in this match, as they’d placed their robot on the field at the start of the match. They were surprised by this ruling, thinking they could substitute another alliance team member. As it turned out, they didn’t get their robot fully operational by the end of the time-out, but took the field nonetheless. Subsequently the other alliance won the match and the tournament.

I want to confirm I made the right call as this came up one time earlier this year. The basis for the call was Rule T03, which states in part “Prior to each Elimination Match, the Alliance Captain must let the referee know which two teams will be playing in the upcoming match.” My interpretation is the robots cannot be substituted once placed on the field. Is this correct?

Thanks for your response.

This is a rule where we give some latitude to the head referees. If a head referee thinks an alliance can switch their robot in a timely fashion, then it can be allowed. However, referees must enforce this consistently for all teams at the event. Similarly if an event is in a real time crunch and the head referee allows no swaps once a team is placed on the field, this is fine, but must be enforced consistently for all teams throughout the event.

So, as long as you were consistent throughout the event, we can confirm that your decision was fair and in accordance with the rules.