This past weekend as a Head Referee, I had to do something I never want to have to do again; I had to send 2 teams home before the competition started. What was their offense?
Was it a G1 violation? No.
Was it a G6 violation? Nope.
No, their only offense was using the cortex control system.
The cortex control system is still fully compatible with the field electronics. It would have been trivial to inspect them and to allow them to compete anyways. In no way would they have had an unfair advantage.
It was not my choice to remove the teams from the event, nor the EP’s. Our regional RECF representative (who is amazing and deserves no blame whatsoever for this) contacted his superiors, and was told that they could not compete because of the rules this year from the GDC.
The RECF’s Mission statement has been talked about lately here on the forum. I’ve quoted it in full below:
The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s mission is to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs.
To @Grant_Cox and the rest of the GDC, I ask this:
How does the ban of cortex this season further the RECF’s mission to engage students in a hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics program? How were the students that were sent home made more interested in STEM?
The Game manual (written by the GDC) describes VRC as “an opportunity to hone the life-long
skills that will characterize the problem-solving leaders of tomorrow.”
Why does the GDC deny that opportunity to teams using the cortex hardware?
V5 has been out of stock for a majority of the season thus far. Even if the teams had the funding to upgrade to V5 (which I am not sure of), they could not have, because kits are not even available for purchase. The GDC has had numerous opportunities this season to recognize the V5 supply difficulties and to make cortex legal again, yet they have chosen not to.
I volunteer my time at VRC events because I, as a long time competitor (8 years), appreciate the positive inspiration VRC has had on my life and on my decision to pursue a career in Software Engineering, and I want to participate in bringing that inspiration to new teams. What happened this past weekend has me questioning why I am doing this. These teams were discouraged, not inspired. These students were not allowed the opportunity to run the robots they had designed, built, and programmed, and to be inspired by their experience at the competition.
The season is not yet over, the GDC still has the opportunity to make cortex legal and to give more students the opportunity to be inspired by the Vex Robotics Competition.