South Boston Rules Questions

Just in case people had some questions about rules in the South Boston event this past weekend.

How tubes were being scored. You can see the answer in the following link.

How interacting with a robot that is lifting. So while I had the rule slightly incorrect, the interaction was not seen as intentional entanglement, and thus ruled correctly.

So yes it does help to make sure you read through all the Q&A. A lot of answers are not seen in the official rule book to a lot of the minor little details.

Thank you,
James Gillespie


First of all, a big thank you to you and your team, mentors, parents, etc for stepping up and helping with the tournament. I understand you didn’t know you were reffing until you walked in the door.

Second, since you brought up rules, etc. Do you know of any rules that allow a referee to turn on a robot during a match, especially during what could have been the final match? That was a first for me, I’ve never seen it before.

Jon T

Drivers and coaches are certainly forbidden to touch robots (rule G6). I don’t think you can make a rule that prohibits referees from touching robots, as I can think of situations where it might be necessary, but it would be extraordinarily unlikely to happen. There is certainly no rule which explicitly allows referees to touch team robots to turn them on, but there is no rule prohibiting it, either.

Having said that, as a tournament director I have allowed this during practice matches at events with a high proportion of rookies. If this happened during Eliminations it might be a reaction from a referee to the knowledge that they made a mistake and felt bad. Part of the match starting procedures is the referee asking “red alliance ready, blue alliance ready, go!” In the heat of the moment, I have seen referees start matches with one alliance yelling, “No! We aren’t ready!” If this was the case, I would stop everything, reset, and play the match again. I can see a less-experienced (or nicer) referee switching on a robot, but it would never be my choice. If a team indicates that they are ready, but their robot is NOT on, that’s robots, and the match goes on without them.


This has been eating at me all weekend. I know I have seen refs do that before, but as Mr. Tyler said in the previous post only during quals, and I was just trying to help a team that wasn’t running. I would have done that for any team. Now should I have done that during the finals, as I look back to that, I wish I hadn’t. We don’t know what would have happened had the robot not been running for the last minute of the match.

This is why I asked for Ricky (the host of the competition) opinion on the matter, as I did not want to have the appearance of bias. He agreed with the decision on this matter.

Using this experience, this will not happen again during eliminations at any event I will be hosting. So the refs will know not to allow this to happen at the Dec 11th competition.

Again, sorry for the controversy this has caused.
James Gillespie


I am not trying to make this into a controversy. We had a great time at the tournament. We were glad to see our partners get the Excellence Award. I was just caught off guard. I had assumed you were lined up to ref, etc., but may wife said no, you just walked in and asked how to help. So we appreciate all that you did for the tournament.



I know you are not making this into a controversy, I think I just made a bad split second decision. And yea I wasn’t planning on doing anything but coaching my team. When walking in and seeing that they desperately needed help, I figure I help out in any way possible. I know how much work goes into planning a tournament, and its awful when the people who said they would volunteer their time to help out don’t show up.

We appreciated your getting the tournament manager set up, and very happy you had the competition switch, cause I have no idea how we could have done those last few matches with out it.

This was a fun tournament, and I got to say it was nice to be at a pretty much stress free tournament for once.

James Gillespie