I was at a competition and a lot of teams were warned and then disqualified for a piece of their robot going over the bar. According to the rule, no part of your robot can “break the plane” of the fence unless contacting the expansion zone. While I understand with this rule not wanting them to touch the disk to advance their score by pushing them further, why are they getting disqualified for a funnel going over the bar, or a motor on the side of their robot going over the bar if it has no capability of moving a disk deeper into scoring field position or even touching a disk on the other side for that matter?
Can this rule be clarified?
Don’t cross the Fence Line until Contact. Robots may only extend over the Fence Line and
“break the plane” of the 3-dimensional area of the 2-Point Goal Zone if they are contacting the Expansion
Generally speaking, as a Head Ref I wouldn’t consider this a major violation the first time it happens, and wouldn’t DQ a team for it (as long as the robot isn’t contacting discs that have fully crossed the line). If a team repeats the minor violation multiple times, it can turn into a major violation and a DQ. At local events, Head Refs might be more lenient, but I’d expect rulings to get stricter as the season progresses through regional championships and Worlds. The flowchart in Figure 4 (currently page 9) of the game manual does a great job of walking referees through this decision process.
I also am Head Ref Certified and this rule is unfair to me. I do not think going over the bar if not contacting a disk should be a violation. If they are going over the bar to move disks that should be a violation. I totally agree with not going under the bar because that is advancing the disk to a scoring zone.
Whether the rule is “fair” or not is beyond the scope of a Head Referee to decide. It’s one of the rules that defines the game, and all teams have to play by it…
This rules seems pretty cut and dry to me. Don’t pass the bar or the fence. Just don’t do it.
It can be permanently solved within the design of the robot. It would be simple to add some parts that would stick proud of any funnels or motors that would overhang otherwise.
Why would you want to have robot designed to where it could break a rule?
During my time as a mentor, I made sure that my students understood the rules so thoroughly that when making design decisions they would be able to take all potential scenarios into account. This includes unintentionally breaking a rule. I’d recommend making your robot less able to break rules.
As we are planning to run competitions this year, I have advised my head referee to carefully read the rules and to enforce them as they are written. In this case, the rule does state:
Don’t cross the Fence Line until Contact. Robots may only extend over the Fence Line and “break the plane” of the 3-dimensional area of the 2-Point Goal Zone if they are contacting the Expansion Zone.
It gives 3 clear examples and states that the third example is in violation of the rule. Since the violation does not state the actual violation, you follow the flowchart on page 9 and if it is not score affecting, I have told the head referee and referees to formally inform teams and it will result in a minor violation. If it happens multiple times, it will become a major violation. That is what the rulebook states. That is the rule we will abide by. Whether we think a rule is fair or not does not matter. The students are playing the game as it was intended and as @mlonsinger and @Sidoti have stated, the rules are there to be followed. Not for us to interpret however we want. I will make an announcement at the start of the competition to inform teams of this to make sure that I do my part in letting other teams know but it is mostly on the mentors to teach the students to read and follow the rules properly.
Good luck this season!