Post-World Championship Inspection


A thought occurred to me a few years ago and after sharing this idea with teams from my area many teams encouraged me to officially ask/request that it be looked into.

In many competitions a thorough inspection is done of the winning individuals or teams and any devices they may have used to compete. For example, in both Formula One racing and NASCAR the winning cars are completely dismantled and their parts are analyzed to insure they are 100% legal.

So, my question is, can VEX or the GDC look into instituting a new rule or policy in which the division champions at the world championship have their robots analyzed in a manner similar to that of the aforementioned racing circuits?

I believe that a practice like this would deter teams from attempting to circumnavigate the rules and ensure a level playing field. It was also make inspections like the one mentioned in a recent thread (I believe it was entitled “VEX favoritism”) less likely to occur because teams would know that if they perform well their robots will be inspected very closely.

Sorry for such a long post, if I communicated anything poorly I apologize… my phone really wasn’t cooperating so I had to retype this post and I may have left something out.


Some of the divisional champions at Worlds last year were reinspected before the Round Robin matches, although I don’t see why some divisions did this and others did not.

All things considered, I think there is a huge crunch for time at the end of the World Championship as it seems like everyone is working at 110% to make sure everything runs smoothly and quickly from the eliminations on. This might make such a detailed inspection impractical, and in some cases insulting to the teams who have performed so well and worked so hard to be successful and fully legal.

I was unaware that some of the robots were inspected before the round robin.

My intention was that the winning alliances of the high school, middle school, and college divisions be inspected after all of the matches are completed, to avoid any negative performance due to the inspection and to avoid slowing down the elimination matches.

In my opinion a team that is fully legal would want this kind of inspection to remove any doubt that they are legal.

Many teams put a lot of time and money into their robots and for their chance to compete at such a high level and to only lose to an illegal robot after all that dedication, in my opinion, is a slap in the face so to speak.

I was hoping for an official response from the GDC. I thought that I put this topic into the Official section of the forum but if I didn’t could someone from VEX please move it there.

I’m not sure if you are suggesting that teams have their robots inspected in this manner DURING the competition (before the round robin/semifinals), or AFTER the competition, so I’ve considered both options in this post.

A disassembly inspection during a competition is completely impractical. Disassembling and then reassembling a robot takes an extreme amount of time, and who’s job would it be to ensure that reassembly was completely accurate? Imagine if a teams robot broke in a finals match due to poor reassembly from inspectors. Additionally, neither of the robots that my team has taken into the Vex Dome would’ve performed nearly as well after a dissassembly and reassembly, and I imagine this would hold true for all teams which become division champions. It takes untold hours of tuning to get a robot to compete at that level.

Additionally, if a team WAS caught for cheating at this stage, what would the course of action be? Would the team be disqualified from the competition? If so, who would take their place? The team they defeated in division finals? How about the teams they knocked out in division quarters and semis? If the team would not be disqualified from the competition, but simply had to remove the offending part, then the people they defeated in their division would just have to deal with the fact that they lost to an illegal robot?

In the case that you are suggesting a complete disassembly AFTER the competition, I believe this has several major flaws too. I know that many world winning teams who have the money like to keep their world winning robot at least partially intact as a sort of trophy of their achievement, so the reassembly process would still have to take place, and hence the same problems arise. Also, in the case of overseas teams, reassembled robots would have to be redistributed all over the world which would be at considerable cost.

Again, the problem is encountered that if a team is caught cheating, what would they do? Imagine the world champion gets caught cheating. Does the world finalist get the world champion title? What about the people who got defeated by the world champion in their division eliminations? Shouldn’t they deserve a chance too?

I understand what you’re trying to achieve with this, but I don’t think this would be the right course of action at all, and would cause more problems than it solved. I think a more effective solution would be a compulsory reinspection before division elimination rounds begin, but not involving any robot disassembly. Since less teams have to be inspected, this could be more thorough than the initial inspection (although obviously could still not be as thorough as a full disassembly). Let me know your thoughts. :slight_smile:

In my experience, teams at this high level tend to be some of the most trustworthy and experienced teams out there (ie 1492, 2915, 2941, 2625, 2587, to name a few) and wouldn’t be caught dead cheating. Not really a solution, but figured I’d throw that out there.

Right. But how long would this inspection take? I know I’ve spent at least 1.5 hours dismantling a single World Championship-attending robot in the past. To dismantle to the point that you’re mentioning would require even more time. This would have to be done before giving out awards, which extends the already long day.

Also, let’s look at a best/worst case analysis:
Best case: We find that all teams involved were completely legal, and we’ve just unnecessarily waited a long time before giving them an award.

Worst case: We find that a team used some illegal part. What do we do now? Their presence at the event threw every match in which they took part. In NASCAR/Formula One, the presence of other cars on the track has minimal effect on the outcome of the race. (Yes, there is some effect, but not to the same extent as VEX.) Simply awarding 1st to the 2nd place alliance cheats an entire division of the possibility of winning an award. The only “acceptable” response would be to redo the entire tournament, but that is impossible.

tl;dr: If you unearth a cheater, what good does it do? We still must award Tournament Champion in a way that is “unfair” to some people. I contend that it is better to not know (at that point) if anyone cheated.

I like to keep my good robots whole, thank you very much. :wink: (Intelitek still has 1103’s Round Up robot in one piece, at least to my knowledge.)

You did, but it got moved out of that section.


My intention was after the competition, and then the finalists would get the title, assuming they passed the inspection.

I do understand the time it would require to fully disassemble the robots and that it may be impractical with international travelers.

I do like your idea of a more thorough inspection before each division has their elimination matches as it is more realistic than my initial request.

What I’d want inspected, which may be fairly obvious, are the teams’ motors as they would most likely be the modified part.

On an unrelated note I can’t wait until I get the chance to face your team at the World Championship this year.

I believe the idea would be to check to see if a team is using electronics in an illegal fashion. As in they modified their motors, or did something to their cortex. Given that this is done in other competitions, I think this would be fair. I believe the VEX team could do a very fair inspection of the electronics after the competition and mail the robot back to the team.

As for cheating, I believe a life time ban would be appropriate. And the idea that it eliminates the chances of playing against a team that has done anything to their motors or cortex I would think everyone would like. Right now everything is done on the honor system and we all know its possible to modify your electronics so the idea of doing a check of all the teams who get that far seems fair to me.

Also I believe this sort of thing would be done after all the awards and the event it self is done. Its a more inspect just to make sure everything was fair.

You’re insane. You want to BAN an entire team because of something that was potentially done by one person, without the knowledge of the others? That would be like ending the Yankees (or Rangers, I guess) because A-Rod used steroids. The MBA doesn’t even do that.

I don’t even know why we’re debating this. Has there been any evidence that anyone who has ever won the WC illegally modified anything? Do you really think the Techno Commandos and Jack Attack won because someone cheated? Or 2W? GER? Give me a break. These are top-rate teams with great people. Everyone I met at the WC was friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about what they had done.

Instead of starting a witch hunt, you want to maybe let the guys who run the company make this kind of decision? I’m 100% sure that if they felt it necessary, a team’s robot would be taken and checked. Just because some teenagers on the Internet want something done doesn’t make it a good idea. Let’s assume the GDC and referees know what they’re doing.

Even if it’s done by one person, it’s still a team that builds the robot. Unless you have one member of the team doing things without the rest of the team’s knowledge or consent.

I also believe that even with the great reputations of some teams, we shouldn’t just let a team’s reputation jade our views on a thorough inspection. Even with no evidence, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred. Personally for our team, I’d take the thorough inspection. Think of Michael Phelps who takes EXTRA drug tests to show he’s clean. And furthermore, he did ask the GDC for an opinion. So I’d watch the tone you take with a few people on these forums.

Just to respond to Ephemeral_Being…
Not everyone here are “teenagers”. Many are coaches and college students who spend many many hours dedicated to Vex and robotics. I wouldn’t be so quick to disregard and, quite honestly, disrespect them. Not to mention that even these “teenagers” are likely some of the more respectable and knowledgeable students one is likely to come across.

And, the OP did cite the possible past evidence of this, and reason for suggesting it to VEX:

My personal opinion: Lifetime ban is too harsh, especially when team members change every year as students graduate.
I don’t think a full tear down would be the intent, rather the electronics and any other component less easy to inspect normally would be scrutinized.
And, it likely would make sense to do this as a re-inspection before eliminations, so as not to possibly end up with an invalid champion. What I’d like is an option for teams: Inspect pre-elims or after, thus discouraging cheating while also allowing them to keep robots intact.
It’s known that electronics are the easiest things to slip past inspectors. Some sort of inspection should take place; and, if not at local competitions or even at the start of worlds, they should before awards are given out.

The second point is exactly what I’m saying. We have a 15 person team this year building 3 robots. If it was determined that one of the robots had illegally modified components, is it fair to ban the 10 people who haven’t been working on its build, and had no idea that had happened? We let the noob team take home their robot this last weekend when it tanked at Saturday’s competiton. Am I expected to go back and check everything on their robot? I don’t even know what I’m looking for. I’m not an electrical engineer. Neither is our mentor. We would have no idea if something had been modified illegally.

Granted, I may have been a bit terse. I just don’t understand how someone thinks banning an entire team is “fair.” If a multi million dollar industry has less strict penalties than what someone is proposing for a high school competition, don’t you think I may have a point in asking people to think about it for a moment?

I’m not saying the entire idea of a post-worlds inspection is illogical. I’m saying trust the referees to make the call if they feel it’s necessary. Which I’m sure they would do already.

I was just putting ideas out there. Plus the idea of a ban is hardly new as it has happened in numerous cases in a lot of different sports (be it life time or a set period). So I don’t think that would make me insane so suggesting an idea that has been implemented across the board for a multitude of sports.

I believe the OP was referring to another post where it was mentioned. So the idea is hardly original to the OP. Also I don’t believe anyone is pointing at any team as something like this idea would be best done across the board, thus no favoritism would occur (as was mentioned in the previous forum post).

I am hardly making a witch hunt as I haven’t said to do this to any specific team just the winners from each division (as the original OP said). But again I am not in charge of these things, just supporting the idea. This question was originally asked of the GDC, which seems to be a legitimate question that needs to be talked about and discussed by the community.

Also to be fair to referees don’t assume they know what they are doing but make sure you have the rules on your side for backing up or disagreeing with their decisions.

One possibility is to make all the motor casings clear in the future. This would let inspectors quickly look for any obvious modifications without taking the time to remove the casings.

It would have the added benefit of being able to look and see whether the motor was in a high speed or high torque gear configuration without opening the casing.

This would also look cool because you could see the gears moving as you drove. If the gears were skipping, you could tell which gears by looking through the casing.

If the majority of teams had clear motors it would speed up this kind of detailed inspection immensely.

now I want to swap my motor casing for clear casing… vex pls.

I think the majority of posters advocating for more inspection are going a little far in what they want here. The rules work well so far.

This statement seems a little funny to me. The world wouldn’t look any different if every single championship alliance cheated over the last few years.

It’s like saying there are no perfect crimes without taking into account that a perfect crime would look like no crime at all.

We don’t know if the system now works but we assume and hope that it does.

I guess my statement was a bit unspecific there.

I should have been more clear and said that I think that the ideas some of you have are a bit ludicrous and go far beyond any reasonable rules, specifically Oscar’s idea of teams submitting themselves to extra inspection, and Gillejr wanting to institute lifetime bans.

I don’t think any bans beyond the event should be levied by Vex or RECF for modifying motors or any other sort of cheating.

If we think about VEX in terms of its age, its a pretty young sport. Building up rules takes time and there is always going to be some reluctance to change one way or another. But what I am suggesting and the OP is suggesting is hardly a new idea. If you are modifying your robot (using illegal measures) to be on an unfair playing field, how is that different then taking performance enhancing drugs? And lets be honest, there are a ton of different ways to do it then just changing the motor. (Though I do love the idea of clear motor housings)

Also as for ludricrous, here is a list of athletes banned for using drugs. It doesn’t say for how long of a ban was but you can search life banned athletes pretty easy.

Also if someone is caught cheating once how do we know they didn’t cheat throughout all of their other competitions? These are all good questions and good things for the RECF to think about.

Well, I guess I also don’t think that PEDs should be banned in competitive sports but that is a whole 'nother can of worms.

Fair questions they may be, I am simply sharing my opinion on them.

If a non dangerous way of increasing motor performance through internal modification is found, why shouldn’t teams be allowed to use it?

Would there be anything at all to stop a banned team from simply registering under a different number? What comes next, a wall of shame with pictures of all the cheaters so they can be recognized?