Bad Referees

We’ve all had them, and, no doubt, all hate them. Bad referees always upset people, but this can’t always be helped. I thought that there would be higher quality refs the farther you got, with good refs at region’s and great refs at world’s. And the refs at region’s really were good. The world refs were… disappointing is phrasing it nicely. A way to put it not so nicely is that these refs blatantly ignored some rules, misunderstood others, and appeared to not know the rulebook if it hit them in the face. In the science division (which I was in), the refs thought that the pinning rule didn’t really matter, and if a team pinned another, the refs wouldn’t do anything for at least 10 seconds. Then they might give a warning, wait a few more seconds, then count slowly to five, then doing nothing if it took the robot 6 or 7 seconds to get away. Apparently they never heard of safety glasses either. Their calls were just atrocious!
In fact, in the semifinal round of our division one robot was tipped over intentionally by the other robot. The referees reason for why he didn’t call tipping was quote “If it’s at the trough, anything goes.” Where is that in the rulebook? Anyways guys, post your experiences with refs this year. Were they better in other divisions? What was the worst call you saw? What can solve this problem? I want to know!
Anonymous rager :wink:

I reported your post because I do not believe that your post is written in the spirit of VEX and will incite discussion that is not allowed on the forum. While certainly your team may have incurred hiccups during your matches, it would have been better for you to discuss with the referees and work to fix the problem you saw than rant online. I’ve seen my fair share of bad calls but I know that I can personally ally attest to the experience of referees that were on one fields. You may not have the full story and I do not believe that you should continue in such a slanderous manner to describe the referees.

\rant on
“Where is that in the rulebook?” Right here:

Like it or not, refs are the “gods” of the competition. If they say something happened, it did. If they something doesn’t matter, it doesn’t. If they say the rules mean one thing, that’s what the rules mean.

Can you raise an issue with their ruling? Sure. But, if they don’t “buy” your interpretation, deal with it. I’ve been on the receiving end of (what I believe to be incorrect) rulings at tournaments that have nullified at least two month’s of work. When that happens, the best thing to do is the keep calm and carry on. Don’t argue further, don’t get mad. The best way to deal with these situations is to present your case calmly to the head ref of your division, and if things don’t seem to be going your way, see if you can persuade the ref to radio Karthik.

These people are volunteers; you would not even have a competition without these people. These volunteers took off work so that you could have a tournament. Many of these volunteers purchased hotel rooms and drove or flew long distances so that you could have a tournament. Cut them some slack.

I watched the Science division via webcast for most of today. I believe I saw this tipping incident you reference–if I recall correctly, this was a situation that fell under the following paragraph:

With regards to pinning, I did not notice this (but I do not deny that it could have happened, as I didn’t watch every match). However, the correct response would be that as soon as you notice uncalled pinning, request the head ref to enforce this. If you have notified the head ref, be happy with whatever he does.

\rant off

I’m sorry you had a bad experience. The referees in Technology were fantastic, as was the competition as a whole. We had an amazing time, and plan to be back next year.

I’ll specify my complaint. Be consistent. Don’t call things at one match then ignore others. Having safety glasses every match was strictly enforced in my region, yet at world’s, Every other team didn’t have them. Intentional tipping of a robot temporarily filling a defensive role has always been called in my division. If they could develop a way to standardize the rules, at least by some measure, perhaps by reducing the flexibility of the rules would greatly reduce the disparity of calls around the world.

And I did enjoy world’s overall. It would of definitely been improved if the calls had been more standardized.

I believe I know of the match you were talking about, and while it did look like the robot trying to score wanted the robot that was blocking the trough to move, the blocking robot tipped so easily that it would have been considered their own fault. The design of that robot had no compensation for their top heaviness and the contact was so short that it could not have possibly called it intentional.

When I read posts like this I can’t help but think, “Great! Here we’ve got someone who wants to volunteer to be a ref in the future. They’re going to be awesome and always call things exactly the way all the teams want them to be called.” I never, ever think, “Gee, what a whiner.”

Looking forward to seeing you be a perfect ref one day. Thanks for volunteering!


If I wasn’t on a team, I would of totally referee’d at world’s. I would of been setting up the fields if they needed it. I love vex as a whole bro. And if you actually saw the same match as I did, there’s no doubt about the intentions. They literally rammed the robot repeatedly.

The refs in fact did not think the pinning rule didn’t matter. They were just misinformed.
When I was playing in the eliminations, we were repeatedly pinned by a team. I brought this to the attention to the head ref, and after a bit of discussion, he came to the conclusion that a robot is considered pinned ONLY if it does not have an avenue of escape. I knew this was in fact incorrect (a robot inhibiting movement of the other robot against a field element is pinning), but I accepted his decision and went on.

Safety glasses rule was never enforced. This was only informed during the years before VEXnet, where the controllers had long antennas capable of poking someone’s eyes out.

Again, refs will never be perfect. They are just volunteers.

i dont know the situation being talked about,
but based on what 922 and griffinpup said about it,
they were “rammed the robot repeatedly” BECAUSE the robot was blocking the trough…
seems like perfectly illegitimate reason to “ram”

Just so everyone was clear, i’m going to describe the scenario i stated in detail. the robot that was tipped over barely finished scoring in their own trough. Being offensive and scoring, therefor covered under G11. Also be aware that the tip was after they finished scoring, so it was obvious that they weren’t trying to stop them from doing so.The opposing team hit them, backed up to get more speed, and lowered the arm to catch the robot below the intake directly on their six bar, which caused the robot to tip. They completely ignored the trough, and instead went directly for the opposing robot. To everyone in the stands watching, it was apparent that it was a tip. The referee was on the other side of the field, which may of been part of the cause for his error. However, there was another referee on the other side, which agreed with the head ref.

I personally don’t like gods that make huge mistakes. They should at least be trained before they are allowed to be a god.

I wasn’t aware that they were misinformed, though that would explain a lot.

Do not even get me started I lost my 6-0-0 record rank 3 because of bad refs and an incident with a team reporting me right before a match for having modded motors which I did not have I just have a transmission and they got mad I beat them…

T05 states that safety glasses are in fact mandatory, and the meaning of this rule was later clarified stating that they were necessary.

I honestly don’t care whether safety glasses are required or not, just make it consistent.

I thought the refs were great at worlds, just like every year. Worlds is by far the most well ran tournament of the season. Everyone has some degree of bad luck (trust me, I’ve had my share in my competition days). The refs in my teams divisions were always on top of dependencies and pinning. I have been to tournaments with refs that were not up to the quality that some of us would like, but you have to remember that all the judges, refs, field techs, and others are volunteers that are there solely for your benefit, not theirs. Without them, there would be no local tournaments, and no worlds. So before you go out bashing the individuals that make VEX, VEX think about the weekends they are giving up for your personal gain, and if you dont appreciate it, they may just stop. Think about what you say before you just come on the forum and begin raging

I’m well aware that they are volunteers, and that they are giving days up to come do this. I really appreciate the people in my region that ref for us. They’re good. If they weren’t, our region wouldn’t let them. But if they’re already giving up so much time, they should spend some hours really understanding the rules. Volunteering to paint someone’s house for them and then doing a crappy job isn’t doing them a favor. Also, what division were you in? I bet it wasn’t science, or you really wouldn’t be saying that they were great.

I was in science, technology, and engineering. Many of the refs and field techs that i recognized were coaches for some of the top teams in southern california which most of us know, is one of the most competitive regions in the United States. I can tell these guys know what they are talking about when it comes to the rules just by the quality of their teams.

If the match you are referring to is SF1-1, then your statement, “The tip was after they finished scoring” helps explain exactly why it was not considered to be an intentional tip. Since it had been over 5 seconds since they scored, it was apparent that they were partaking in a defensive strategy. Also, the fact that they tipped so easily means that there is no apparent way to tell if the tip was intentional. For all we know, 7856a could have been attempting to push the other robot, which is not illegal.

Is intentional tipping allowed if they are being temporarily defensive? It was clearly intentional, and the same thing happened in the finals of my region. We had a senior VEX representative there, and it was called an intentional tip. But at world’s, it wasn’t. It turns out that knowing your referee is more important then a good autonomous, or building a superior robot.

Also the judges reasoning wasn’t that they were partaking in a defensive strategy, only that since it was at a trough, anything goes.

I thought long and hard before replying to your post as it wound me up so much. So here goes:-
Volunteers know what they are doing,they are trained and experienced.
They pay their own way to get to the event, their own hotel fees and food costs. I know of one volunteer at least who took 10days unpaid leave to volunteer. The personal cost to him was well over $3,500.
They get tired beyond what you can ever imagine but in a wierd way that makes it more fun.
They are passionate about the competition and making sure things are to the rules and fair.
They ARE members of teams in some way.
They keep comming back!

You need to recruit those who you think would be good volunteers and refs and have them come and help.

Well done for making it as far as you did. Many excellent teams did not.

I look forward to you being a ref next year so your team can feel they have an expert at the event.

I think you may be a little confused, here. Intentional tipping is never allowed. So much so, that in most instances of tipping (even if its debatable), there will be a DQ. HOWEVER, if one of the robots is playing defensively at that time, the referees have more leeway to excuse the tip. Carefully read this rule, especially the parts I’ve highlighted:

I believe the action you are distressed about falls under “incidental” (not intentional) tipping.