Injustice in the RECF (448X)

Let’s focus on what actually went down at the event. If we get caught up in copyright strikes and personal drama, we’re never going to get to the bottom of this.

Foster, I think you’re right to say that the DQ was the root cause of this. With no DQ, this whole mess wouldn’t have happened. At the same time, even if we can establish that the DQ wasn’t justified, it wouldn’t change anything because the RECF believes 448X violated G1 and abused the referee. That’s the direct cause for their worlds DQ.

From the video posted above, judging from the body language of 448X after the DQ, and from the testimony from 1138, we can agree it’s extremely unlikely they actually violated G1 by abusing anyone. Aeden and Cameron have both provided a possible explanation for why Dan Mantz might believe a nonexistant G1 violation had occurred.

It would be good to get a statement from the Daniel, the ref at the event. He’s an honest guy and I don’t think he would manipulate evidence or lie to get 448X DQed. Tarek, however, would be willing to stoop to this level, so anything he says needs to be taken with more than a grain of salt. And anything Dan says needs to be treated the same way because he’s getting his information from Tarek.

Beyond that, all of this speculation is useless. Let’s focus on what actually happened and collect evidence to move the ball along.


I’d hesitate to dismiss anyone’s input off the bat. I’m sure you wouldn’t dimiss Tarek or Dan’s input if they end up agreeing with you.

What would be best for everyone is if as many of those involved as possible (including Daniel, Tarek and Dan), are able to share their side of the story. If there was any miscommunication, exaggeration or change of story, it should become clear.



I have been pinged by multiple people regarding this topic. I have been at meetings all morning and have just arrived at my office. I request that everyone take a break from speculating and commenting and please give me time to review the thread. I will reply as quickly as possible and will be as transparent as possible. I am clearing my calendar for the next hour to focus on this but i do need some time.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

Dan Mantz


In the mean time, I’m locking this thread for now. I will re-open it after Dan has had the time to review.


Corruption in the RECF (448X)
Injustice in the RECF (448X)

This response may be a little long . I apologize for that up front. I truly strive to be fair and professional, to not get defensive, and to check my personal feelings regarding any discussion regarding the REC Foundation. I may allow some of my emotion to creep in with this response – I ask for your understanding – it’s been a long few weeks.

The facts:

Team 448X was disqualified from the finals match at the 3-2-19 California States competition at Damien High School due to a violation of the pinning and trapping rules. After the DQ, Team 448X protested the call. The match DQ was upheld.

Immediately after the event, the REC Foundation received complaints from multiple sources (over 5) that the behavior of 448X (students and adults) violated G1 and the Code of Conduct.

Tarek Shraibati contacted me the following Monday (March 4)that he was disqualifying Team 448X for the rest of the season because of the violation of G1 and Code of Conduct. Note: For the rest of the timeline, when I state DQ, I am talking about the season DQ and not the finals DQ.

The coach of 448X contacted Tarek and requested a phone meeting to discuss the decision, a request which Tarek granted.

On Tuesday, March 5, the coach of 448X contacted Tarek again (and copied me) to apologize on behalf of the team and adults and to provide additional information for Tarek to consider.

On March 7, Tarek reviewed his findings (including testimony from people at the CA Championship as well as from the coach of team 448X) with the REC Foundation leadership team, including me. The REC foundation felt the evidence supported the season DQ and Tarek communicated this finding to the coach of team 448X.

On March 11, the coach of team 448X contacted me directly and requested that the children have a chance to present their evidence. I responded that I stood by the REC Foundation decision and I provided my reasons.

On March 19, the coach of 448X contacted me again with a letter from our team members, statements they gathered to refute allegations, and a request to allow them to present their side of the story (in the interest of fairness).

On March 19, I replied and agreed to arrange a call with the coach and the students. It is true that I requested that the school administration and parents were also present on the call. I did this for transparency for all involved parties (including me). Please note that on March 19th there was continued conversation between the coach and I, at this point he demanded that I provide all of the evidence that I had collected. I did push back on this request and said that I would provide it before the hearing but not at that time. This was so that I had time to further review everything. I do feel this was the most reasonable and responsible reply that could be given.

Note: I recognize that 448X was correct to demand an opportunity to present their side of the story. I agree that this is part of “due process” and the REC Foundation regrets that they did not have this opportunity earlier in the process. I will make the needed procedural changes in order to correct this going forward.

On March 20, we agreed to a date and time during which the students would present their case.

On March 24, I provided an overview of the statements that the REC Foundation had collected to the coach of 448X.

On March 25, we had the call with the team (students, coaches and parents) and the school principal. During the call, I did listen to the school’s principal advocate for the students and clearly understood many of his points. I felt I needed some additional input to make a final decision and It is true that I asked Steve Rummell (California Regional Support Manager) to contact the school principal.

On March 26, I talked to Steve to listen to his feedback. I again reviewed all the emails and other testimonies. I decided I needed the night to reflect on the decision.

On March 27, I contacted the coach of team 448X and informed him that, after careful consideration of all the information, that I was upholding the Disqualification.

Note: I made the final decision based on evidence provided to me from multiple sources. Please refrain from placing responsibility on specific REC Foundation staff members, like Tarek or Steve.

On March 28, the coach of team 448X contacted me and said he was disappointed (which is fair) and claimed my decision was not fair (unjust). I replied to his email.

I am sharing with you part of my response:
“You asked me to do an open minded and impartial hearing. And I heard from multiple parties on the issue which is the impartial way to investigate the issue. The other parties that provided testimonies also provided strong arguments and strong evidence that the students (and coaches) behavior was not professional and violated G1 and the Code of Conduct. Because I did not rule for you doesn’t mean I wasn’t fair - it means you don’t like the decision I made. And the REC Foundation and I do have the best interest of the students and programs in mind: All students and the long term sustainability of the program.”

Please note: there are other facts, including emails, regarding this decision that I am not able to share with the public because of confidentiality rules. I would hope that the community would understand based on my previous decisions that I look at all the facts in a case and give me the benefit of the doubt that I did not make an uninformed decision. I would also like to point out that I have reversed many DQ decisions in the past year once presented with all the facts so it is clear I don’t always just rule with event partners, volunteers, or my staff against the students.

Now my “emotional” response:

I sent my email at 7:23 PM and at 7:50 PM a student from the team created a thread about the DQ called “Corruption in the RECF (448X)”. As everyone knows, I do not regularly read the forums unless someone informs me about a thread. Many of you did inform me but I was working on sponsorships last night and did not get the notices until mid-morning. By the time I logged on, the topic had been changed to “Injustice in the RECF (448X)”. I find the term “corruption” very offensive and I request an apology on behalf of my organization.

I thank those of you that have cautioned the forum against making any conclusions until the REC Foundation had an opportunity to present their side of the story. I appreciate it more than you know.

But I am troubled by those of you that are accusing the REC Foundation and / or REC Foundation employees without any factual basis. That is not fair and is very disappointing. Some of you have brought up Nancy and she had nothing to do with this. Some of you have immediately supported 448X without knowing all of the facts. Some of you are saying I only get information from people that are “out to get” a certain team. All these statements minimize and invalidate all the volunteers that came forward with their concerns. And it shows a lack of respect for the process. Most notably, I’m disappointed that some in the community haven’t given the REC Foundation the benefit of the doubt. The entire REC Foundation, our volunteers, and our event partners work tirelessly to provide a great robotics competition program, and I hope in the future that our community will keep this in mind.

I am asking @DRow to keep this tread open for civil conversation and feedback (I do love feedback). But it it gets disrespectful, I’ll request to lock it again.



Thank you for the response. It is very detailed and provides a lot of the facts surrounding the issue.

Could you release these complaints with timestamps? 448X said privately that some of the complaints the RECF forwarded to them came from people who initially backed them and then realigned their positions once they were contacted by RECF employees. I don’t mean this as a personal attack against anyone in particular, but it is consistent with what @Aeden_6007 posted regarding the whole qualification fiasco last year. Who did these complaints come from? Where they based on pre held grudges against 448X or actual G1 violations with compelling evidence? Is there any video or audio showing that 448X violated G1, or is this just loosely based on the complaints of anon sources?

448X said the RECF has changed the case against them several times. Are they being DQed for “ganging up” on the head ref, abusing anyone, threatening remarks, etc? What specifically did they do that violated G1?

Why was their school principal involved at all? 448X is not a school affiliated team and the principal is presumably not knowledgeable about Vex, G1, or the specific incident. Why was he brought into the equation at all?

Could you please release this evidence? I know it’s hard to hear but multiple people with no skin in the game have posted above that they believe Tarek intentionally fabricated evidence against them.

Because of a real lack of transparency and a lot of issues both at the regional level and at the global level, the RECF has permanently lost a lot of people’s trust. The only way to fix this is to increase the transparency the RECF displays, not to shame the people who feel this way. We don’t control how we feel or what we believe, and we can only base these beliefs off the evidence we see. When a team is DQed behind closed doors with a thoroughly flawed process largely by a RECF employee who is believed to have fabricated evidence, it’s sure to raise concerns. The only way to mitigate these concerns is to actually release the evidence you’re referencing.


We want to clarify that in the discussion we were invited to the discussion, just to make it clear that our “protest” was in fact authorized.

On another note, I would like to ask why our alledged behavior warrants the maximum punishment stated in which is a new addition to that rule for this year. This is our first incident in all the many years all of our team has been competing, and as you can see many other teams can attest to our good faith, in and outside the competition.

With regards to the season DQ, we still feel as if this is a situation primarily based on heresay from both sides: the 5 sources you have, and over a dozen testimonies (volunteers, refs, and students) that we collected.

We understand your frustration with the comments regarding the RECF made by others, however we feel that the community only wants the best interests for the foundation. In light of others testimonies on the RECF we believe there needs to be some type of accountability held in situations described in this thread.

Punishing a team who that has had no previous incidents with the maximum consequences doesn’t seem justified, especially since this seems to be a recurring problem specific to the region.

Our team and others hate to see the frustration brought about in some of these situations described, that have caused many teams to actually quit Vex Robotics. This is an organization that we truly love, but when we see that there is a problem we must be advocaters for change.


Now this response was pre written before the official response from Dan but I would like to say thank you Dan for the clarification and quick response.

Alright, before I begin my post let me provide some context and backround about 448x for those who do not know them. 448x is a independently formed team which was was the result of a break off from a school affiliated team. All the members on 448x were in this school affiliated team for the past 3 yearsbefore they decided to venture off on this own after a difference in opinion and practices. This decision to leave the team was not easy though and was a difficult for them. I can say this as I witnessed them leave the team and know all the members of 448x personally. This departure of these members left a sour taste in those who were still on the shcool affiliated team as well as those who were associated with them and might possibly be the souce of bais against their team.

Now for the facts:

Like many teams would be in such a situation, 448x was quick to try discover the understanding about the ruling against thier team as they were overwhelmingly filled with exterme passion and energy coming off a final match for the state championships. I was personally at the event and reviewed the stream after and they did this with the upmost respect and good intention. Never did any member of 448x harass or verbally abuse referees and had every intention of respect and courtesy when asking for clarification. Under VEX rule a team is allowed to ask for clarification from referees after a match and 448x was simply exercising that right with no intention of disprespect towards the referees at the competition. Now I know there are different viewpoints to the situation but with a lack of solid evidence with what prompted the complaints against 448x there isn’t much to go off of.

My Opinion:

The tournament space can often be filled with emotion especially when trying to qualify for the world championship and I think this is a simple misinterpretation of the situation. From their break off from the school organised team a bais against them has formed as they have been viewed by many as a group of rebels who were only in it for themselves. This infact was not the case. While with the school affiliated team, the members of 448x we’re reminded constantly to be “The most charming thing on 2 feet” and I see them living that out every tournament. They are a passionate team that is not just looking to win but for also fairness.I personally haven’t had much interaction with RECF and the higher-ups yet it is very unfortunate that there efforts to uphold due process, proper justice, and fairness I believe are being undermined through a personal bias.


Here are some statements about the situation that have not been discussed yet,

  1. The RECF is negatively biased against 448X because the members were originally on another team, and there are very loose ties to that other team within the RECF

  2. The RECF is negatively biased toward independent teams not affiliated with a school, at least in this situation. In my opinion, if this was any other non-independent team, that team would not have been disqualified for the season and worlds

Here are some examples supporting this statement,

     - The RECF used a social media post as evidence, which had nothing to do with the situation. The post had nothing, and the majority of the RECFs evidence was not from comments made by 448X

     - They contacted 448X’s head school administrator, in my opinion, to validate their decision to disqualify 448X from worlds. The school administrator actually backed 448X and did not think this was fair. The administrator supported 448X,  but the RECF went against the administrator even though the administrator wanted other punishment rather than a full season and world’s disqualification.
  1. 448X qualified to worlds prior as the Google Signature Event winners. 448X already paid for the world’s spot, flights, and hotel rooms.

  2. There have been multiple quotes from highly respected individuals saying this punishment is too harsh

They also wanted 448X to apologize when the RECFs accusations did not align with what actually happened at and after the event.

Finally, it’s unfair that 448X is receiving this treatment. If the RECFs goal was to keep its volunteers, I can say without a doubt this will lose them many.


Facts. I will never volunteer at a California tournament because I’m afraid of being strong armed by Tarek. But if I go to college in another state, I’d definitely come back as a ref.


Though I am also interested in hearing clarification as to why the students’ school administration was brought in, given that they are an independent team, in the interest of keeping things respecful and civil I would refrain from referring to the RECF’s alleged biases as facts. They may appear to be true in this particular situation, but that’s far from universal. Anecdotally, team 5225 has never had any issue that stemmed from our independence from any school.


First, thank you for your quick response to the concerns in this thread. Thank you also for clearly laying out the timeline of what happened.

I have a few questions though.

Can you specify exactly what kind of G1 violations 448X committed? Was it verbal or physical abuse? Offensive language? I (and many others) are wondering what a team could possibly have done short of physical violence that would necessitate a DQ from all remaining events in the season. Solidifying the offense would really help here.

Since much of the evidence presented in this thread so far seems to show innocence, or at least a lack of anything truly egregious, can you elaborate on these testimonies? Did the G1 violation occur while the team was talking to the head ref about the call? Or was it due to interactions not shown on camera?

I have a hard time with this one. This was not just a quick error to exclude the team from presenting their evidence. This was over two weeks after a decision had been rendered, and much time had passed in which the team could have presented their evidence while the event was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The fact that it took this long is disturbing.

Would you be willing to share those reasons with us?

Should “our” be replaced with “the” or “their”?

Why was it necessary to involve school administration for a robotics team that is not affiliated with the school?

I find this somewhat contradictory. From your own statements, the RECF accused, made conclusions, and punished 448X without knowing all the facts and without giving the team an opportunity to present their side of the story. Does this not show a lack of respect on the part of the RECF for due process or to giving the team the benefit of the doubt?

One more thing:

I ask that you change this policy. I think it would be very beneficial to hear directly from the community how it feels. It would also help to build a good rapport with the community and would help us to give you and the RECF the benefit of the doubt that you request. As it is, however, there are multiple other open threads where you have been requested for comment and either have not replied at all or have not replied beyond an initial notice of investigation.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read and consider the responses from the community and respond to them.

Edit 1: The threads I referenced in that last bit are this one and this one.

Edit 2: Grammar


Tarek is a good guy.

My wife and I have worked with him in the past and he’s nothing short of a professional. Actually look forward to the chance to work with him again.


How is this surprising? They are less than a month away from hosting a mega event and I imagine Dan’s work schedule has to be unbelievably busy. Furthermore, If one of my trusted employees tells me hes made a decision and he’s taking care of it I’m going to let them have their space and continue on what I am doing.

calling it disturbing is a bit unfair in context.

After watching you guys drag a person through the mud for what is suspected of him, there is absolutely no reason for the RECF to hand this over to you guys. It would possibly lead to more internet lynchings.

Gotta say I see your point here. I’d be upset too.

I wonder why we are focused on just the interaction with the ref. Perhaps the team vented in the pits near another team or volunteer that reported it. If it were particularly inappropriate I could see that being a major factor. I only mention this because I know such scenarios happening in our state.


I find this most likely

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@TheColdedge this possible scenario you outlined is exactly why people want RECF to release evidence. None of us know and we are trying to find out. Attempting to gather all the evidence seems like the most fair standpoint, and I hardly think you can blame people for trying to get enough information information to make a proper judgement.


I was with the team after the competition ended. They never complained about the ruling and never said anything bad about losing. They were just focused on having fun and getting ready for worlds.

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Look guys, If these are testimonies of people with possible identifying information included. Could you see after watching what has been basically outright character assassination why they would refuse to share that?

I mean I remember that one kid that was banned from the forums for sending harassing phone calls and he wasn’t even tangentially involved, so even if you personally would treat this evidence with respect doesn’t mean some other person won’t take “justice” into their own hands.