So here’s my take on it…
In over ten years of inspecting I have yet to see a team that intentionally broke a rule, or refused to make a correction to fix a non-compliant part when the appropriate rule is brought to their attention. I’m sure others have seen it, but hopefully it is an exceptionally rare event. So generally we’re dealing with a cooperative team, usually novices, who inadvertently made some sort of mistake. Rarely is the mistake dangerous to the field, humans, or other robots.
In this case (inadvertent/clueless error, no danger, cooperating to fix it) I let the kids play, so long as they continue to work towards fixing the problem. I make sure that they know that they won’t be eligible for elimination rounds unless they have cleared tech, but if a team plays their first two qualifying rounds slightly oversize, I’m not too worried. They get the added “fun” of having an inspector coming by their table every fifteen minutes or so, inquiring on their progress and making sure that they are working on fixing the problem. No additional stress there.
The benefit is that their alliance partners aren’t disadvantaged by their error, and their opponents have more balanced, entertaining matches. Perhaps the biggest advantage however is that the kids (and their coach and parents) feel supported and included, rather than punished and excluded.
Rarely do we have teams take advantage of this courtesy more than once, and everyone is informed in advance that it is not available at the Provincial Championship. I think once or twice we’ve had a team unable to fix the problem and have to withdraw from the alliance selection process, but when you’re at the back of the pack of a big tournament that isn’t exactly a sacrifice. Usually they come by at the end of the day to say “Thanks” for letting them play, to apologize for not being compliant, and promising to do better the next time.
Really, the teams that don’t pass tech tend to be newer teams, unlikely to advance to elimination even once they’ve passed inspection… but if they learn from the experience, have some fun, and keep coming back… well, maybe next time.
I like to balance R2 with a bit of D2. No… wait… that’s G2. R2G2. That’s how I do it.