"Bound Notebook Bonus"

I’m not in the tournament, but I was kind of surprised when I read on Robotevents that only bound notebooks would be reviewed. Presumably, that statement passed muster with the RECF rep or it wouldn’t have been approved.

does that organization award their team judged awards? If so that could be a motivation.

Actually, no. I think its more of just trying to follow the rules but, perhaps, misunderstanding them.

Yes, I suspect that’s it. They are supposed to accept whatever you present (in non-electronic format) as your notebook. However, if you have both a bound engineering notebook and a separate journal, they are only supposed to judge the engineering notebook. This is designed to reward rather than punish; they can still consider the information from your journal during your interview, and you’ll get the bound notebook bonus.

I’m actually hoping it didn’t and the RECF Rep is going to correct it when they find out

I am an event partner and run many tournaments. The Design Rubric is VERY clear! You can accept any notebook, but the design process and anything on that rubric is the only material you consider in the judging for Design. All the other stuff is for other awards.
Frankly, if the team turns that all in, the judges only have to consider the rubric when judging. The interviews and pit interviews are totally different and “other” notebook materials may apply.
Design rubric is EVERYTHING for notebooks… nothing else.