If the referee’s failed to count the score correctly during a quarter finals match and declared that team the loser, isnt that unfair? During my competition at dallas texas, the referee’s failed to tally the score correctly. there is video proof that we clearly won. I understand the referees cannot review any replayed videos but how is this fair then? I feel cheated. We had a chance at the finals but “lost” due to the referee not being able to count. I understand the competition is over now but how is vex going to stop this error to occur again. I feel that no team should suffer the “loss” we had to so how do you propose to fix this problem?

Is it possible to simply have the teams approve the score being submitted by the ref before the field is cleared and reset for the next match?

I have no advice to you other than that referees are volunteers who are doing their best. Sometimes they make mistakes. That’s part of sports – even robot sports. As we say in Exothermic Robotics “that’s Robots.” You do your best, talk to the referees in an open, unemotional, professional way and take how it happens. I absolutely guarantee that some time in your life you will make a mistake that costs someone else and when that happens you should remember this incident and hope that they forgive you, as you should forgive referees that might have made a counting mistake.

every time people complain at my school about refs making bad decisions or making mistakes in any sport this one teacher says the same thing and he is right, kinda. he says “all refs stink! You will get calls you don’t deserve for better or for worse but the worst thing you can do is complain!” i see your frustration but who knows maybe in one of the rounds that got you to Dallas the refs miscounted in your favor. i feel like this tread is not really appropriate. how would you feel if you came home from being in the finals and somebody was saying you should not have been in the finals. yes it is unfair but you already knew that and what it seams to me is that you just want people to agree with you. there is no real gain to this so it is pretty unnecessary.

“Fair” is is a very vague word.

It was fair because the outcome of that match, and every other one, was determined in the same way - by imperfect humans.

One thing to do, just to be completely sure that you are correct, would be to describe where all of the game pieces were at the end of autonomous and at the end of the match. It is possible that you are not counting up the score properly and that the referees did count it correctly.

Regardless - Humans do make mistakes. After each match, if a team wishes to dispute a score, they can (quickly) send a student drive team member to the match referee(s). That student can politely ask the referee to explain the referee’s rulings. That is the current method for attempting to correct a referee mistake. See Elevation rule T01.

Bons’ idea might be a good one to add to the official procedures for running a tournament. When I am a ref, and when time allows us to do it, we often confirm the locations of the game pieces with the teams, before sending the score sheet to the scorekeeper’s table; but we don’t always do it.

I know no one wanted any team to lose a match because of a mistake - If the score was computed incorrectly, I am sure everyone involved will be very disappointed.


You just joined a new game, its called life. Let me enlighten you, its not fair. Don’t come looking for pity, because nothing will magically change what happened. So instead of whining about volunteers, who were certainly working their butts off, how about getting ready for VRC Clean Sweep.

I agree completly with all of you senior members but the fact is that they not only no admited their mistake but even told us that we were wrong and were trying to hustle them or try to mess up the competition. what i dont understand is why cant the ref’s review any replays? if they had the resource, why not use them. This miscount happens all the time in sports and i understand this but they easily correct this by watching a relplay. We had this replay but why would the rules ban the refs from watching a replay? wouldnt that make the counting more accurate? and for the person who said this is just a way to vent my fustration, you must understand how i feel. Its my first time and last time every participating in vex and we finally hav a clear chance of making it to 1st place. I wouldnt mind losing to a team that was better than us but this isnt the case now is it?

The rules stated you had two matches in which to complain about the match.

Did you do this?

Also the two referees would compare their scores so mistakes can happen but should be caught most times.

Was the cube in question cleanly scored or was it one where there might have been doubt about it eg robot nearly touching it etc?

What is this video proof you talk about?

The only video proof I think that would be reliable is one where:-
At the end of the match no one is allowed on the field.
Then each goal is videoed along with the Bonus cube and platform.

I am not trying to put your complaint down but show how difficult it can be some times for people to see what the ref’s see.

I was watching the webcast and in at least one case it looked like an aerial had knocked a cube into a goal. But this was probably just camera angle.

well to start off, we did complain about it. so much to the fact the guy was starting to get angry actually but w/e. besides the point. the game was a close match but the match you watched wasnt the right one i think but anyways, they forgot to add the extra 5 points due to violation of a robot touching a cube in the goal at the end of the match. this was broadcasted on tv as well and from what i hear, the tv caught how many goals we owned and if you look at the score sheet, it just doesnt add up. anyways why cant a ref just look at replays when in question of the scoring?

Which alliance was touching the cube in question? If it was a red alliance bot touching a blue cube, the blue cube still counts. If the red alliance bot is touching a red cube, the red cube isn’t scored.

red aliance touchin red alliance cube


Now, on to the next level of detail - How do you know that the cube was actually touching the (same color) robot?

Was it impossible for the cube to be supported in any other way (the cube was leaning on the robot, had no other important support, and would have obviously fallen if the robot was pulled away)?

If the cube was not leaning on the robot, was the robot obviously leaning on the cube (the robot’s wheels were off the floor, or the robot had a mechanism that sagged down to rest on the cube, or…)?

Or did it just appear that the bot and the cube were touching each other? A tiny, tiny gap between the robot and the cube would not be visible in most video recordings, but would be enough distance for the cube to count.


“The guy” you are referring to is me. I wasn’t getting angry so much, but perhaps I did begin to give very “short” answers at times after the teams involved persisted for better than 20 minutes (not to mention the other 10 plus minutes your alliance spent with our field referees). With time in between to confer with others this whole process went on for nearly an hour. I was given the responsibility for overseeing the work of our head and field referees on all competition fields in both divisions, so ultimately I am the person responsible for all decisions made on the field.

I will explain to you again here that there is one part of the manual that covers your questions at hand,
“<T01> Referees have ultimate authority during the competition. Their rulings are final.
a. The referees will not review any recorded replays.
b. Any questions for the referees must be brought forward by a student drive team member within the time period of two (2) matches.”

You brought your question up. The referees reviewed their decision with you. Your alliance persisted. I then spent time with your alliance, again meeting with referees, scorers table and head ref in between to get the whole picture and their detailed description of how the match was scored.

Above all else, it is my charge to uphold the rules as stated and to do my best to treat all people involved fairly - on the event side as well as on the team side. That is not to say that mistakes are never made, but I will say the event staff was thorough in their work in this matter and we went out of our way as a courtesy to your alliance - far beyond what the rules call for - to provide all of the information we could based on your questions and rendered a decision.

Now, before you come away from this experience feeling that our VRC referees and event officials don’t understand the teams and how hard they work and why we need to do a better job of being fair, let me share with you an experience I had as a lead mentor/coach for FRC Team 1712 at the FIRST Championship in 2007 that I described over in ChiefDelphi Forum two years ago.

Basically, my team lost a third semi-final match in our division on the GA Dome floor with 20,000 people in attendance with our 120-pound robot by a very narrow margin and our season was ended on a very controversial penalty call. When my robot driver was upset and wanted to question it, I reminded him that these penalties were judgment calls and that the ref’s decision was final. We had a lot to be proud of and we left it at that. Yes, I wanted to win as badly as you did. Heck, I ran an 18v DeWalt drill directly into my own hand repairing the robot a few matches earlier just to quickly get it back on the field. This was an event our team paid $5K to attend and we ran a small number of seeding matches prior to the eliminations just like you did this weekend. We were disappointed, but we also had a LOT of opportunities most students across this globe do not, and for that we were very thankful for the experience.

Besides, these types of lessons, no matter how “unfair” they may seem at the time just might provide an opportunity for you to learn the real importance of things in life and how to deal with adversity. I told you at field side, I understand how disappointed you are, and we imperfect human beings did the absolute best we could to uphold the rules of the game in all situations at the VRC Championship.

And, by the way, if you’re still feeling “cheated” please come talk to my VRC team (Team 1712 competes in both VRC and FRC- FIRST). VRC 1712 qualified for Dallas, but did not attend. Why, you ask? Because the team’s lead mentor, aka “the guy” (you know, me) was already committed to helping run the event and had used personal time from work to do it. (I’m a full time teacher and only consult with IFI/VEX). No other 1712 mentor or teacher could lead the trip, we didn’t have the registration funds, and even if all of that would have come together I was way too busy preparing to run inspections and referees for the other teams around the globe, including yours, to even hope to have the time to plan a trip in two weeks turn around from when they qualified.

So, I suppose, this is all a matter of perspective. I encourage you to become an event volunteer some day and learn how difficult and rewarding of an experience it is. I had an awesome time in Dallas and would do it all over again tomorrow if I could. I hope you get to feeling that way, too. The experiences you had in Dallas, both positive and negative, will serve you well in life if you allow them to.


But see, all the judges and and staff should not be volunteers. From all the money that vex makes, they should be able to hire and pay the people to judge. I’m not saying that its a bad thing to volunteer, but they should have some better people counting the points up;not trying to disrespect you or anything. All im trying to say if the judges counted right the whole alliance had the potential of winning the championship because have have face and beaten both the 1st and 2nd place teams from california. I still think it is unfair and we should at least recieve an apology letter stating that they have miscounted due to human error and which unfortuanately might of caused us a chance placing .higher up

But see, you have no idea who you are talking to. Rich Kressley is one of the most experienced youth robotics experts in the country, and is hugely qualified to be a Vex referee. I’ve been mentoring FRC, FTC, and VRC teams for five years and Rich is one of the people I look up to in this field. You simply don’t understand. Go to Google and search on his name. “Volunteer” does not equal “incompetent.” I think you owe Rich an apology.

ok as an answer to the person above me, and my referee during the match. let me clearify, to adress my referee, i understand that your hands were tied, im sorry if i came off as hating you during the competition. I sincerely thank you for going that extra mile for us during the competition but the question is, why isnt vex letting referees review replay to clarify any questions when in doubt? i dont understand why vex doesnt let the referees do this. It is not like they dont have the video or the resource. They have it all in their hands yet they choose not to use it. why is that? this causes the competition to always be questionable. To my understanding this not only happened to me once in this competition but twice in the world championship. we let the first one go because it was a tech error thats fine. even though we lost that match, i doubt that the oother team would like a rematch so i said you know what forget it. not only did this happen to me but this happened to another team. They lost because the referee messed up as well. All im saying is vex should let the referees be able to check the replay if anything is questionable or is in question. Thats all i would like to really say. Vex should eliminate the rule about referees not being able to check replays. the least i would like is an explanation why they cant. I am pretty sure you would agree with this as well rich. If you had that replay as well, im pretty sure you would have won. Once again Rich, im sorry if i came off as a jerk. Thank you for empathising with me.

Alright I’m going to throw my $0.02 in here. I’ve been a referee with FIRST robotics for 5 years now, as well as an event coordinator for a Vex event this past April.

As far as video replays are concerned, don’t forget that looking at a video replay takes a lot of extra time. Also, if it is going to be truly accurate, 3 or 4 different viewpoints would be needed. Does the World Championship have the resources for this? Probably. Do most of the local and state championship events have such resources? No. Like it or not, only a few events could pull off even the technical support for this if the refs had that kind of time to spare. So why wouldn’t these events do this? The important thing with any sport is consistency. If three or four events offer this advantage, then it isn’t fair to the teams at events who don’t have that ability. Again, that’s if there was enough time at events to review match replays. Refs would have to be ready to view replays on any match, that is a lot of extra time.

I mentioned consistency above. Another part of that is the reffing itself. Do refs make mistakes? Yes, I’ve made them myself. It happens, but the important part to remember is that it will happen to everyone at some point or another, it’s not just one team that gets short end of the stick. Refs are volunteers, which I know has been said again and again. Keep in mind that being a ref/ field manager/ judge is not an easy job. I know from experience that reffing is stressful, especially when teams don’t like a call.

  1. I would be willing to bet that Vex is not making as much money as you think.
  2. What would these hired judges and refs do for the other 362 days a year?
  3. Where do you expect to find all these employees for the small local/ state events? Do you think it would be fair/ sensible to only have paid volunteers at the world event, but not at the local/ state events?

Consider this, if someone is volunteering their time to spend 3 days as a referee, who is probably going to be hounded by teams about incorrect scores or unfair penalties, they obviously must really enjoy doing that kind of thing, and are truly devoted to helping the younger generation out by helping to put on these events. Now, if Vex offered money for such positions, perhaps some people might only do it for the money. Who would you want working at your event: people like Rich Kressly, who devote thousands of hours of their free time to mentoring teams, volunteering at events, and truly care about what these programs are all about, or some random person who has never been really involved with robotics programs, and is just doing it for the money.

Think about it. If you ever have the chance, become a volunteer and see what the other side is like, there is more to it than you think/ see.

I’m still trying to figure out how a video can clearly show if a bot is or isn’t touching a block. A paper’s thickness is enough to cause me to claim a bot isn’t touching and I can’t see being able to tell that with a camera view.

As for paid refs and some guarantee of accuracy, I’ve seen enough sports to wonder why anyone would think that paying people would result in higher accuracy or greater sympathy. Every time I think about the end results of having people who are in it just for a paycheck, I cringe.

okami65 : My thoughts are that, up until now, life has been fair to you. I don’t know what to tell you about that except that it’s not likely to remain being that kind and developing a strategy for coping with life’s ups and downs will serve you well in most of your adult life.

You can try to change yourself or try to change everyone else. My gut feeling is that trying to change everyone else isn’t likely to be successful but at least it will keep you busy.

Rich: Thanks for everything you do. My son’s only in fourth grade and it’s people like you that give me hope there will still be a program when he’s old enough to be considered a “student” and compete.

Those that are complaining about a ref’s call should take a step back and reflect the big picture. You should consider the teams that did not even get to make the trip to Dallas for various reasons. I am sure that they have gone thru mixed emotions over the past weekend, far more that a single match call could generate. :wink:

You should be celeberating the time that was spent at a ‘World Championship’. Only a few get to cherish that moment. The people that you meet, the experiences that you had, etc.

In life, not all things go your way, but the best of us take that in stride and make yourself stronger for the future.

Let me be entirely clear here. I’ll assume by “judges” you mean on field referees. Our judges were in charge of our judged awards and not the on-field play. Now, with that clarified, about the referees.

I am an IFI/VEX consultant who does occasionally get paid for services, it’s just not my primary career position. That is not to say I don’t put long and hard hours in with robotics competition and education, especially VEX. I played two complimentary roles in the VRC World Championship this year. I coordinated and oversaw all robot inspections and I played a support role for all on field referees to deal with the match legality of robots and rules interpretations/applications. VEX has been part of head-to head alliance-style robotics competitions for about 5 years now between its FIRST involvement and VRC (it’s also used in other competitive robotics as well). I have been a member of game design committees that developed the game challenges, wrote the manuals, answered Q&A questions year-round, and supported events in various ways for three of those five years. I was not a part of the Elevation game design committee, but I was part of a review team for the game. I floated between the science and technology divisions all weekend long (after the inspection station completed its work) to work with referees, rules interpretations, re-inspections (primarily sizing issues), and teams.

In addition, An IFI employee and primary game designer for Elevation was with each division all tournament long and conferred with referees on decisions, calls, etc hundreds of times to help ensure our decisions were as fair and accurate as humanly possible. They too worked with the teams, officials, and rules interpretations as needed. Both of these gentlemen also have 3-4 years of exactly the same kind of game design experience as I do. They also have spent many more years as a part of the competitive and educational robotics community, participating on the team, event, and entire program levels.

Now, for the “pure” volunteers. It should be of no surprise to anyone that we had volunteer referees participate at the event. Volunteer registration has existed online for months for this event and “referee” was always clearly an option to register for. However, this is NOT to say that anyone can just register online to be a referee at the World Championship and get placed in that position. We have a paid IFI employee who has the role of volunteer coordinator for this event and the aforementioned Elevation game designers were also heavily involved with deciding who was and who was not selected to be a referee - sometimes going over and above to recruit and train the most experienced folks available from around North America to come to Dallas as an event referee.

In short, you did have highly qualified people as referees and referee/rules/robot inspection support available to the teams on the fields at all times. In addition to that the folks managing all of the division playing fields from a technical standpoint were the engineers and tech support staff that develop and work with VEX technology on a daily basis at IFI. Their combined years of experience as on field technical support and delivery at robotics competition is a staggering number.

On the whole, it would be impossible to assemble a more experienced, capable, and knowledgeable staff (paid, volunteer, combination, or otherwise) to better serve you from anywhere on the planet. Does this mean we can’t get better? No, we as humans can always improve our systems and performance, but I am 100% confident that the folks on and around the division fields at VRC Worlds are among the elite of a very small group of highly motivated and qualified individuals.

For that, there is no need to apologize. We have stated clearly and consistently that no human is free from error. That is why we spent so long going over the decision in the aforementioned match. Clearly, it is time to let this rest and move on.