Your URL got messed up in your posting…
OK, I am kicking the preverbial hornets nest, I know. I went through many of the same arguments last year with our local folks but I think we have to realize a few things
- Vex is growing exponentially world wide
- The number of spots to world championships is not growing any where near that rate and is essentially flat
Therefore, something has to give.
RECF has only so many spots so they allocate per region and it’s based upon the previous years number of teams. That’s probably the best they can do to set it in motion at the start of the game year for event planning. The skills challenge part was new last year and they had plenty of teams already qualified and registered for worlds at the cut off date. So they dipped down a bit further and extended invites for more teams. Hopefully they do that again and it seemed pretty fair.
They also had an open queue to request spots and they seemed to have granted some of them (but very late for travel planning from 3000 miles away). So you can do that route too to go to worlds but it’s not guaranteed.
So PR has a set of worlds spots allocated from RECF at the start of the robot year. Your local event organizers have to quibble about how many spots are going to each place. Other kinds of competitions have gone to the qualifying model with regions giving the worlds spots. So it’s really up to each region to work out the spot allocations with guidance from RECF.
So my argument was why not make worlds bigger? Volunteer needs, space needs, and logistics nightmares are probably keeping it at near-current levels and the thought of a “higher quality product” by limiting entrance to the same number of teams from a larger available pool.
How many sites can accomodate Vex and how many of the top sites are not already booked in multi-year deals with other conventions at that same time period? RECF can answer that one I guess. There are not many more convention centers bigger than Anaheim with international airport access. Wikipedia has a list of them in the US - there are not many over 800k square foot of space. We also have two more bays at Anaheim and the downstairs space to grow into at Anaheim. WDW ESPN zone was bursting at the seams with some high school and all college teams in a tent. Going beyond the 4 division format in High School of ~80 teams in each also gets logisitically complex and more volunteers are needed for that.
Economic laws of supply and demand makes me think RECF could charge more but I think they like being the “accessible” robot competition organization that does not cost thousands of dollars in entry fees per team (let alone the robot and travel costs). So they could also charge more per spot by even a few hundred dollars without getting into that wickedly expensive territory.
OK, so back to you and your situation. Last year it looks like Puerto Rico had 2 teams on the robot skills top 30 list to get them in. It also looks like PR sent 11 High school and 9 middle school teams to worlds at cut off time when I saved a list. I am not sure if Puerto Rico’s region is just PR or if it is also encompassing of other latin american countries. So I’ll assume just PR for now.
According to the allocation rules on page 2 if you had a regional tournament that could qualify 9 teams if you had a 100+ team regional in PR. By my estimate of 2 in by skills and 9 more HS going to worlds and that is the number of spots you probably have for Puerto Rico, then it fits within the RECF rules. You could have another big regional with 100+ teams to allocate 9 more spots to the middle schoolers if that was the case.
Doing a big regional as the only qualifying tournament also allows for ensuring your few and shrinking number of precious worlds spot are not taken up by someone who already qualified. Some teams repeat winning Excellence awards or tournament champions which in theory reduces the spots from that region that go on to worlds. By doing one massive event, they all get cleared on the same day. However if you have a single bad day, you are not going on to worlds which stinks.
Another way of doing it is you have to divide the spots to the various tournaments which with a lot of teams could make some have worlds spots and others have none. That’s a different headache where some events seem left out. I think Vex is past the days of sending a ton of teams per region which is unfortunate since it was massively fun qualifying all these teams from your area! I guess Vex has grown up too much. Darn. I liked that method.
I am personally more of a fan of growing the worlds tournament size (and even cost) but that just may not be possible to manage the logistics and that has an upper limit as well. The worlds experience drives many of our kids into that next gear of commitment to want to go back and do better. By making worlds tougher to get into they may only go once now in their time and the lesser team may not see the need to get better. That may be lost as it gets aharder to get to worlds in the first place. That situation then may eventually reduce the growth of teams in Vex as many don’t see the utter coolness and spectacle of worlds. We’ll see.
So as the years progress we may be stuck with a smaller set of spots for worlds per region as other regions continue to grow their number of teams proportionally. The odds of going to worlds will get smaller each year as the numerator of number of teams stays the same while the denominator of total teams continues to grow. So work even harder to get that slice of a declining resource is the short answer.
Puerto Rico has had some darn good teams the two times I went to worlds. So quality does not seem to be much of an issue and 2 of the top 30 from PR in skills is impressive too for one region. So take heart in knowing you come from what seems to be a strong Vex region.