Justice in the RECF. Thank you for your time Dan

Yesterday, Dan dropped his schedule to listen to the community.
He spent his night describing, to the best of his limitations, an extremely complex situation to an internet mob.

He made this a priority because he cares about finding a solution.

Yet somehow, the forum degraded to churlish garbage right when at the point when VEX community needed to be strongest: when Dan was listening.

How can the community ask to be treated like adults while acting like children?

Agree and question rather than disagree and accuse.
Find middle ground.
There are clear problems within the RECF, and Dan acknowledges it. That’s huge.

Go from there.

Drop the 448X incident. It’s over.
Drop the 62a incident. It’s over.
Drop the 6007 incident. It’s over.

What policy can we suggest so that another team number doesn’t appear on a list like this ever again?

Please only use professional responses that build a cohesive communal experience worth everyone’s valuable time. Act like the type of person you want to be treated as by the RECF.


This. Its a matter between 448 and the RECF. Not 448 and the community vs RECF. The RECF made their decision, only people who can change that decision is RECF

Start another thread if you want to continue the 448x conversation. This thread is about what I outlined above.


Couldn’t have said it better Cam. +1

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Well, I agree that these specific issues with those teams are over. However, I think it’s interesting to note that all three of the mentioned teams come from the same region, specifically LA. So if this is an issue caused by RECF mistakes, why is it isolated in LA? I can think of two possibilities. First, the RECF in LA is not following the same policies as in other regions. Or, maybe, there is a moral issue plaguing LA schools that manifests in unprofessionalism and disrespect at competitions. :thinking:


Correlation does not imply causation. And a sample size of 2 in a thoroughly uncontrolled test does not even imply correlation (not to mention the other data points about season DQs in other regions, that Dan confirmed, that are being largely ignored). You have to realize you are falling prey to confirmation bias and then adjust your theories/conclusions appropriately.


One of the things that bothered me in that thread was people not understanding RECF and VEX.

VEX makes the robot parts. It was started by two guys that are trying to build the best possible parts at a decent price to inspire roboteers. They have an amazing product line and they are used by thousands of schools around the world. Competition robotics is their passion, but educational robotics are their business. I work with about 50 VEXIQ teams in a local school district. But each High School has 40 or more VIQ kits that they use in classroom settings. I’m going to assume they make a profit.

RECF is a non-profit with a mission to get roboteers interested in STEM careers via competition robotics. RECF doesn’t make a profit. They get grants and donations (that’s what Dan was doing when he got stuck in this, finding ways to pay for all of this,) RECF sponsor events and put on the Worlds competition. They support a ton of out reach to get more and more roboteers involved (see the amazing Mia program for Girl Scouts) They help people that can’t run events on their own to run events.

So when you say VEX robotics, you are talking about the cool VEX parts. When you say VEX Robotics Competitions you are talking RECF. There is a difference, make sure you know what it is.

Competitions other than Worlds are held by Event Partners. People like me that donate way too many hours. We run the event with a staff of volunteers. And those people are not paid. In the 2018-19 season I was the primary person for 4 VRC events, including the dual MS / HS Delmarva Championship and help at three other VRC events. I also ran 7 VIQ events, including last weekends event with 45 teams and helped at two other VIQ events. I had help with over a hundred different volunteers at those events across the season.

It’s a huge effort to pull of California Championships or Delmarva Championships. Lots of time, money and effort to creating something that is great for the roboteers. And what cranks me off is when I see posts by people that think they are entitled to "professional (fill in the blanks). Or people that are willing to throw stones (or large rocks) to people that are offering their valuable time to help their children.

I have conversations with parents all the time: “Of the three of us, you the parent, the teacher or me a guy running a robotics program, who is the most invested in your child’s success?” In 99% of the cases, I get “Me, the parent” . In that case, why are you not helping out at the events? Why do I only see you at 5:55PM dropping your roboteer off and 8:15PM when you pick them up going “Sorry I’m late”

People put a lot of effort into VEX competition robotics. My local rep puts in 100’s of hours of overtime. Dan puts in extra time, I get emails from him at all sorts of weird hours. I put in an average of 1200 hours a year. How many hours are you volunteering with your local teams and local events?

I am known in both PA and Delmarva for being a mentor. I treat everyone that I have direct contact with the utmost in respect and kindness. Roboteers from schools that can’t afford parts have them “just show up”. Teams that want a few extra hours of build time, I’m there to help them be successful. I work with roboteers with learning disabilities and we figure out ways to make them successful. I work with parents that are invested in their roboteers to get them set up with home school or neighborhood teams.

I have zero time and zero feelings for parents that think they are entitled. I have a long history, starting when I was a Little League umpire, of dealing with parents that think that “The ump sucks, throw them out”. I have dragged more than one parent into a game, and said “Ok, you have better vision than me, you call balls and strikes”. I have forced parents that have been abusive to VEX Competition referees to referee at events or their roboteers couldn’t attend. Here is your stripes, here is the rules, here is the game training videos, be here at 8:30 for the pre-event discussion. And I have reached into my pocket and pulled out the cost for an event, handed it to a parent and said “Here is your money back, let’s pack up your team and you can go home since this event is so poorly run.”

I don’t have a love affair with RECF, in fact they will tell you flat out that I’m one of their most difficult event partners. But they (I hope) will tell you that few partners are more passionate than I am about the program. I have a huge award that says “Mentor of the Year” on it. I work for the best possible experience. I have defied RECF people on event rulings to give teams a chance to replace a battery when they were not allowed to get a time out. I’m a fan of B01, but have stopped and restarted matches when the robot actually wasn’t ready.

That’s my story. But you know what, I’m a small fraction of the 1000’s of people around the planet that support VEX Robotics Competitions. My 1,200 hours is a small fraction of the 300,000 plus hours that are donated. (And let me tell you that TIME is a big deal. I can get more money, I can get more stuff, I can’t make any more TIME). We are doing this for YOUR roboteers.

I applaud Dan for standing up and letting people throw rocks at him.

For the people that flagged my post in the other thread, it’s fine. I was interested in the 23 hearts that it got. I was flattered by the messages that I got and the emails I received over “thanks for saying that”.

If while you are banging on the keyboard and the voice in your head is saying “we are entititled” you are not. You are part of the problem. And unless you are volunteering way more hours than is sane (ie not an hour selling concessions) you are part of the problem. We are in this community together, add your value and help. Your roboteer spent 480 hours building a world class robot, why can’t you spend 10 helping events be amazing?



Cam, thank you for starting this thread.

There needs to be a better process for teams getting disqualified from more than just one match, involving a fair trial, the ability of both sides to present evidence, and an unbiased decider. I would say in any case where an entire season DQ is even suggested, Dan himself, as both the CEO of the RECF and as someone with no skin in the game, should be the unbiased decider. The team accused of a G1 violation needs to be informed, clearly and specifically, what the allegations against them are, and why those behaviors violate G1. And then they need to be given a fair opportunity to defend themselves, either by using evidence to prove they did not commit the G1 violations they are accused of, or by explaining why the violations they have committed don’t warrant a full season DQ. I feel like a set of guidelines would be helpful for this instead of leaving everything to the refs. For example, maybe a rule such as “A team may only be banned from future competitions if they illegally modify motors, threaten people at an event, or physically attack people at an event.” would be helpful. Otherwise, what one ref may see as harmless complaining might be interpreted by another as questioning the integrity of the event, and the outcome may be very different.

The 62, 6007, and 448 issues are all over, as Cameron said. My intention in using 6007 is to show how a fair trial should go, not why I believe what I believe about what went down at states a year ago. In this case, 6007 was accused of committing illegal part modifications that gave them a performance benefit and created a safety hazard. 6007 should have the opportunity to argue these three claims and should have the opportunity to explain why they should not result in a ban from worlds, even if they are true. Because the modifications were imperially not a safety hazard, gave 6007 no performance benefit, and are easily correctable, the fair thing in my opinion would have been allowing 6007 to compete at worlds. That would have been a decision for Dan to make after reviewing all the evidence from both sides.

To keep these problems from escalating before they ever reach this point, event staff needs to be aware of problems that might cause a reasonable team to argue, for example disqualifying someone in a high stakes match or awarding the home team with the excellence award, and take steps to keep the discussion as civil, productive, and clear as possible. If a ref was going to DQ a team in eliminations for knocking over their opponents, the ref should privately meet with that team, explain the rule, and give the team some time to discuss, or at least digest, the decision. If a call is very close and there will be hurt feelings and reasonable points no matter what decision the ref makes (for example the 127X match at worlds), the ref should consider a replay as a reasonable solution.

And lastly, the student competitors need to be on the same page with the refs about discussion over the rules. This is a good thing to address in the driver’s meeting. Some refs are happy to discuss rulings for a few minutes, while others are not. Both approaches are kosher, but the students should have realistic expectations when they get into a discussion with the ref. This burden falls both on the student competitors and on the refs.

Hopefully, with a few reasonable system wide changes, more injustices can be prevented from happening.


It’s a sporting event. Tell me the last time you saw a “trial” on the baseball diamond. Managers come up, yell and wave their arms, kick dirt on the umpire’s shoes, at the end of the day, the umpire’s rule stands.

Football, soccer, hockey. NASCAR has the “hauler” where drivers go to meet, but pretty much when the checkers fly, that’s the end of the race. Deflategate? Pats are still the world champs for that season.

Key thing you are missing is “follow the rules”. Don’t pin. Don’t ignore the referee when they say “stop pinning”. Don’t modify parts. Stop creating situations where Dan needs to get a phone call from an event on a Saturday afternoon. It’s not hard, I’ve run many events where the roboteers follow the rules all day and we leave at the end.

VEX competition rules are 25 pages +/-. It’s not your states driving laws. And 1/2 of those pages are “how events work” So it’s not like it’s difficult to follow the rules.


This is remarkably ignorant and objectively false. Baseball employs a replay system, there is a thorough investigation before players are suspended, and urine tests are used regularly to test for performance enhancing drugs. And this is a uniquely hypocritical statement coming from someone who spent the last hundred bo1 posts explaining why vex is nothing like sports.

Nope, you seem to be confused again, I do follow the rules. The rules that, if you had read, you would know make no mention of saying “don’t pin” when there is a pin. They tell the refs to count to 5.

Pinning does not need to be relayed to Dan. Dan needs to get involved when a season DQ is suggested, which is the topic of this thread and which your post makes no mention of.

No, of course it’s not difficult to follow the rules! This explains why the original poster of this thread, who was disqualified from states for not following the rules a year ago, went on to win his division at worlds, start a company, and gain admissions to one of the best colleges in the world within the next year. Not difficult in the least…


I don’t agree with anomaly much, but i gotta agree with him on this one.


Now I’m curious. I know this thread is for solutions, but do you know any of the other situations that occurred? Perhaps that could help us move towards a more comprehensive recommendation for the RECF.

@The_Original_Kev, hearted. Anomaly makes a good point.

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and the thread is descending into deep darkness…

seriously, let people make a point. make your point. but this back and forth nonsense with personal jabs is ridiculous.


Ok, so I’m going to comment on this and I’m going to walk away.

We’ve been talking about DQ’s at events, and you are dragging in drug tests?

Baseball has a replay, but most of the time it manager kicking dirt. I follow the Wilmington Blue Rocks and we seldom see replay’s. We do enjoy the sunshine, hot dogs and being with friends while we watch the game.

You know we are talking about Middle School and High School robotics here? I’ve had roboteers die, that’s a tragedy. A little perspective goes a long way. You talk of a team that got eliminated last year and came back with a vengeance. That’s a story I want to hear about.

Umm, lets see, Superbowl? NCAA “March Madness”. B01. I think you are missing my ever often “it’s not about the robot” it’s about all the stuff that is around the robot, learning to iterate, communicate, be part of a team. " That’s why I do robots, life skills, launching roboteers on a STEM career.

Sometimes I think these threads should be B01, maybe B03, but B31 isn’t a thing.

Sorry @Cameron_Schiller, you had the right idea…


Could we try to keep this thread about policy changes that would avoid something like the 448, 62 and 6007 situations happening again? There’s no reason to have another thread locked.


There is a difference in intentional rule breaking and unintentional rule breaking.

For example, a 6 second pin may warrant a DQ for that match, but typically does not deserve further punishment (unless it is repeated multiple times and becomes a problem). Teams do not try to break rules intentionally, but in competitive play it happens on occasion. When teams begin to push boundaries and approach the line between what is legal and what is illegal, they may get called for a penalty, not because they are trying to cheat, but because they are trying to reach maximum performance. Teams do not want to get DQ’d, they just want to preform the best they can. When breaking rules becomes repeated and intentional, further action may have to be taken.

I appreciate Dan’s responses and willingness to improve transparency and fairness for season disqualifications in the upcoming season. I have a few suggestions for this process.

  1. A series of steps or procedures for the DQ process should be clearly defined so that the process can be fair and the same for every team.

  2. The team should be contacted before a DQ is issued so that they have a chance to share their side of the story.

  3. A line should be drawn to define what warrants a season DQ. (EX. Does a teams actions make the competition experience less enjoyable for others, is it a repeated offense, has it happened at multiple competitions, do they make people feel unsafe, could the issue be resolve without issuing a season DQ)

A well defined process can help teams better understand why decisions are made and will reduce controversy in future scenarios. I also believe that in many cases a season DQ should be issued if a team commits a penalty at multiple events and a pattern is shown. Many times teams may recognize that they may have been disrespectful or out of hand, and have discussions and work to make sure they improve their behavior so it does not happen again. A season DQ is a very serious punishment, and should only be used in very serious cases.


First off I would like to apologize to all people for allowing and being somewhat a part of the great havoc that happened in the other post. The focus of that thread should not have been our teams specific case but change in the RECF policy for the better.

With that in mind I would like to quickly offer some of the things I personally think would help significantly to make seasonal DQ processes much better.
-Have a council of non biased parties hear both sides of the case and make a decision off of what they have heard.
-Implementing a greater followed strike system to refrain from giving to great or too little of a punishment to any team.
-Greater transparency in the process, allow for the members of the team to understand specifically what they did wrong.

Those are just some thoughts I had, I don’t know how hard it would be to implement these changes but any form of these things would be a great change for the RECF.


To add my opinion to the cacophony of noise, we really all need to take a step back and reconsider where we stand. We are a community, not an army. Most of us are here to help, not attack.

As stated above, we really do not need another thread locked for going off the rails. While I was hopeful, any controversial topic will envoke a heated discussion, but let’s look at what came of it:

  • An insight to the RECF
  • A lot of… disrespectful comments
  • An increased public awareness of a moreso private issue
    And finally,
  • An unchanged ruling

To get back to the root of this thread, I would like to thank all of those who civilly and productively contributed to the 448X discussion. (I personally “stayed out of it” because I would not be able to add anything worthwhile besides another source of confusion)

Dan (on the offchance you’re reading this), thank you for taking the time to step in and explain your viewpoint and share what you could. It really means a lot to many of us.


In regards to the situation of being DQ from a match for breaking a rule, ie. pinning, the answer seems pretty obvious. Vex needs some kind of penalty system for commonly broken rules. Currently the rules just say don’t pin for more than 5 seconds but the only action a ref can take is to warn the team or outright DQ them which is very 0-100. Instead there needs to be an intermediate step where, after a ref calls a pin the other team is tallied a certain significant amount of points. This make the process less subjective so people won’t argue the ruling as much, and a team that is clearly winning won’t lose a match based on a minor rule violation that didn’t really effect the outcome of the match.


The issue here is the season DQ.

Dan also has acknowledged that work needs to be done on the process to issue a season DQ. When they have the event partner summit this summer, watch online and listen to them and see what they are going to do. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with how seriously they take these issues.