Answered: Scuffed Balls for State

Hi Karthik,

I had a question regarding refs issuing DQ’s for scuffed balls?
We had a tournament where this came up. We resolved it, but they said we would probably be DQ’d at State if we had the same problem.
We have flywheels, like many others, and they will eventually start picking away at the skin of the ball. However, the foam is never dented or cut or anything like that.
The event organizers were great and worked through it, but we are concerned about State, and hopefully, World’s.
Here is a pic of “damage” after a match.
Also, this type of ruling seems hard to determine since the team before you could have damaged the ball and then you scuffed the outer membrane off.

I gave them this thread, at the bottom, to review an answer, but it would be best to have an answer in the official Q&A:

I’ll repost what I said in the public forum to make it official.

  1. Please remember that these events are run by volunteers who often use the same balls for multiple events throughout the season. With some teams running flywheels between 3000 and 4000 RPM, there’s bound be some wear and tear on these balls. Teams will need to design their robots to handle this type of variance.

  2. As stated in the above point, we know that these balls will begin show signs of damage throughout a tournament. <S1a> is only going to be invoked when a specific team has been causing specific damage to the balls. As always in the VEX Robotics Competition, our refs will only be penalizing serious infractions. Robots contributing to normal wear and tear will not be punished. The referees are going to err on the side of caution before invoking <S1>.

  3. That being said, if you’re consistently ripping balls apart or taking chunks out of them, you’re going to need to redesign you mechanisms that are interacting with the balls.

Based on the pictures you’ve provided, I would consider this normal wear and tear, and not a violation of <S1>. That said, it’s hard to give any sort of blanket ruling based on a pictures of some ball debris.