The Reffing Issue

So, with all the new q&a posts and the intricate rules of the game it can be expected for some refs, even trained by the recf program, to not know some rules. The issue I am talking about is the refs who do not know basic rules of the game at the state championships, I would have thought that the recf would make sure all refs know all rules of the game for the state championships but that has clearly not been the case. My example of this is that a head ref at my state championship dq’d me in one match citing an inspection rule, inspection rules are not able to be used to dq robots, they can be used before a match to say you cannot compete or a ref can say you have to change your bot after a match but they cannot be used to DQ a team. Not only was this an issue but the refs then did not let me discuss it with them because they where behind schedule, making me powerless and voiceless in the matter. This is a problem because if the recf wants to make a student centered program they have to make sure refs listen to students.


While I do agree that you should not have been dq’ed in the middle of a match, your bot also should have been inspection-worthy. If not, you really shouldn’t have been competing.
I’m pretty sure something like this was in a ref training vid:

Referees should try to assist teams in preventing rules violations rather than merely punishing them after the fact.


Here is what I think the solution should be. I don’t know how reasonable this is but the RSM should be the head ref at every state competition in their region. State season will be one month long and the RSM will ref at all ~4 states it looks over, over ~4 weeks. This would stop world qualifying events from including inexperienced refs who many not understand the full scope of the rules and q&a. i don’t know how great this solution would be, but this may help create better state championships.

Maybe the students need to work harder to help provide well trained refs for the events - talk to your teachers and other adults about stepping up and helping

Maybe the solution is to charge teams more and pay for referees. Little League Umpires and High School football and other referees get paid.


It was inspect worthy, I passed inspection and after that match checked everything with the head inspector

What specifically did they give as the reason they thought you should be dq’ed? (Too big, too many motors, unnecessarily sharp metal pieces, etc.)

You can’t just volunteer referees for states, they have to have gone through the ref training program which I’m saying might need improving


Me being dq’d isn’t what I want this to focus on, I would more like to focus on not being able to state my case and the refs not understanding the rules, I’m sure there are other examples of this but I don’t want to find them


You need to go through the training AND pass the test at the end.

Training can always be improved. Locally we meet before the meet and do the latest Q&A of answered questions to make sure we are all up to date.

Edited to add: Event Partner, referee, judge. The three worst jobs in RECF/VEX robotics and non of them pay more than a T-Shirt.


I think having a secondary, much more involved head ref training course / test towards the end of the season for the head ref of a worlds qualifying competition would be a reasonable thing to consider. The head ref certification test was pretty simple, IMO, and - while a great starting place - really didn’t provide the depth of understanding / discussion that I think is needed for these high-level events.

A “World Qual” head ref cert test maybe should include videos of weird things seen throughout the season and how they should be called, deep dives into the official Q&A responses (which serves the secondary purpose of making sure that head refs are aware of the Q&As up to that point), and perhaps an interactive discussion group of ref responses for certain areas (where if you disagree with how something was called in the test you can discuss with high-level refs across the world).


And as a lesson learned, it might be worth starting early next season to build up a team of solid, reliable, refs.

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Depending on venue availability, scheduling, an RSM may have the case where they have multiple state tournaments in the same day. I actually think that’s quite common. Or multiple grade levels of a State level competition. this is impossible.


Yea, that’s not going to happen, there are more events than the collective RSM’s can cover. And with the massive growth curve and event growth they will never catch up.

But they all have phones and you can call them for guidance. So they can be virtually at all places at all times. All you need to do is call. Sometimes the EP feels stuck, but the RSM is available.

Edited to add: Hey EP’s call your RSM at the end of your event to say “This went well, thank’s for being on call”. Think from their side, they have had ugly phone calls all day, so a thanks goes a long way.


That is why I suggested the idea of scheduling them over a month so they can make it all of them

This will only be for state competitions not regionals

Also, I wouldn’t assume all RSMs know all the nitty gritty details of the rules. Their focus is usually more on smooth operation of the event.


That’s not always possible. And even then most RSMs cover multiple states, and many events aren’t blended.

Logistically this isn’t feasible.

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Our RSM is amazing, he has the rules, he has the QA and understands the nuance since he’s been into competition robotics for a long time (17 years?) Our prior RSM was also a rockstar. So my assumption is that all the RSM’s are of equal level.

Smooth operation includes not having giant discussions with teams about rules. :slight_smile:


Ref knew the rules better than you do. <R2E>:

e. If a Robot has passed inspection, but is later found to be in violation of a Robot rule during a Match, then they will be Disqualified from that Match and <R2e> will apply until the violation is remedied and the Team is re-inspected.


Wait, where do I get my shirt?