Answered: What is Considered a "Warning"

Our alliance received a DQ in a tournament last weekend. At the driver’s meeting in the morning, the teams were told that they would receive 2 warning prior to getting a DQ. I have thought all along that a “warning” is issued after a referee sees a team break a rule. For example, we hear warnings all the time at events regarding teams that show up at their match with no goggles. They are given an opportunity to put them back on and the match goes as planned. I have never seen anyone DQed for not wearing goggles.

Our DQ was related to <SG6>

<SG6> Any Scoring Objects introduced during the Match as Driver Control Loads must be either gently placed on a Robot of your own color touching the Loading Zone or gently entered into the Loading Zone of your own color, by a Student Drive Team Member during the Driver Controlled Period. The intent of this rule is to allow teams to introduce objects into play, but not to impart energy on the Scoring Object which will cause it to end up in a position outside the Loading Zone. It is expected that teams may momentarily break the plane of the field while legally introducing Driver Control Loads. Teams should be very mindful of <S1> during this process.

Minor violations of this rule that do not affect the match will result in a warning. Egregious (match affecting) offenses will result in a Disqualification. Teams that receive multiple warnings may also receive a Disqualification at the head referee’s discretion.

Our alliance believes that only one warning was issued for the <SG6> violation. But that is beside the point because we were subsequently told this: “the referee saw the back of the robot leave the zone and went and told them to return to the zone. The only mistake he made was warning the team at that point, for it was already a match affecting violation of the rules for which they should have been and were disqualified. Once a ball was loaded while the robot was beyond that diagonal tape line the score was questionable. I can also see that there was no way for him to know the exact number of balls that were scored while illegally loading them. Thus, it was ruled match affecting.”

This implies that we were not entitled to two warnings and that after a rule has been broken, a DQ can be given even without the benefit of a warning and that somehow a warning happens prior to the rule being broken. Plus, the judge saw that robot leave the loading zone and walked over to talk to the team - he should have had a pretty good idea of how many balls were shot in that time (just the few that could be shot in the short time he took to walk over to talk to the team). Our alliance had a commanding lead.

Can you explain what a warning is or refer me to a definition? Does a warning happen prior to or after a violation? I don’t see a definition in the rule book.

There isn’t an exact definition of a warning in the manual. In general, a warning is issued when a team violates a rule, but the offense is not match affecting, thus does not merit a DQ. Referees should be simply warning teams for all minor offenses. This allows teams to be aware of what they’ve done wrong and gives them a chance to correct it in the future.

There is no specific rule calling for an automatic DQ after two warnings. That being said, referees are permitted to issue a DQ if a team repeatedly violates a rule after being warned. This should only be done in extreme situations.