Thoughts on how competitions should be run with COVID?

So I shortly discussed this with one of the teams I mentor, and the fact of the matter competitions are going to be much harder to have this year. It might just be our area, VA, but I’m pretty sure many state’s will have this issue too. In previous years, many teams flood to multiple competitions a season, sometimes going to more then 8 a year. This year I doubt our state(or region I guess) is going to have more then 15 total vs the 30 last season. Not only that , but my guess is that most competitions will be reduced numbers in general, meaning even less teams get the chance for State’s. With the way VEX currently does their competitions I just don’t think it’ll be feasible unless COVID lets up some, which I hope it does. If anyone here is on FRC, what I’m suggesting is pretty much the same as that. Instead of going to competitions and getting to States from awards, instead.
-Like FRC, limit teams to 2(or since there are more VEX teams then FRC, 3-4)
-Have a district point system to get to states. E.g. Every match you win you get 1 district point,
tournament champion award get 15 DP, Design gets 5 DP, and so on.
Going to this would be safer in the long run with COVID since there will be less competitions, and more realistic for teams to get to states with regulated competitions.

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There was an Event Partner Summit last week where there were lots of ideas put forth and there is a new EP “Restart Guide” to help us through the Covid issues.

People are talking about doing split events in the same location. In my case 16 teams in the cafeteria, 16 teams in the gym running as two events. Everyone stays in their area, just 3 roboteers per robot to keep the numbers below the 75 person max in a gathering. Winners stay, everybody leaves, clean one of the locations, then the finals play off for the last alliances.

It won’t be pretty and it won’t be as inspiring as other years but it will get buy.

I’m also thinking about remote “Zoom Skills” for teams. Go to your “home” location. I’ll send you my code of the day “I_Love_Robots” and you show me the phrase then the timer and then we watch the robot play skills. You do your 3 drive and 3 programming runs and you go home.

All of the EP’s are looking at ways like this to run events and make things happen.

I’d suggest @XLR8_4303X that you reach out to the EP’s in your area and get put on their mailing list for ideas.


Here’s the link to that:


Thanks. It’s a lot to think about, but I’ll definitely try and get in touch.

Actually, it came across my mind again. Not trying to be difficult or anything, just playing the devil’s advocate here, but that would still have teams have less competitions total right? Which, under VEX’s guide, wouldn’t there be less teams at states, relying way more on Skills then it should? Like, it’s been a recurring issue that the top teams win over and over at these competitions(Which they deserve too saying they put in more work on their bots) and thus forcing States to pull from skills more then it should. Wouldn’t limiting team’s competition solve this? I understand that it’s a fundamental change to the way VEX would work, but COVID is fundamentally changing the way things work as well. Limiting comps/team and then using a DP style system would work wouldn’t it? (again not trying to be difficult, have nothing but respect for you guys)

Its fine, this is a weird year, so there will be different things. Two years ago people abused skills only, last year there were no skills only events. This year there will be skills only events, it will be interesting to see if people play nice. It’s like a do-over for skill, I’m hoping for the best.

While I think there will be less paths to States/Regionals, I also think there will be fewer teams on those paths. So you are right, skills are going to fill in the empty spaces.

I can’t speak for other regions, but in Delmarva we’ll caucus in August when we know what the plans are for each state. Delaware is to announce one of three plans (all in, 1/2 in, all home) and we’ll plan from there.


And I like it like this. In areas such as mine, anyone who tries even reasonably hard gets a guaranteed states spot

I wish this was the case for me. Norcal is not that way at all.

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I’d assume location makes little difference, given the nature of the skills cutoff.

Unfortunate, but that’s what happens when an area has more teams.

“Should” is implying something. Skills is the best meritocracy we have. While skills may be abused, if you have one of the top 10 skills scores in the state, but you haven’t qualified, you should get in. If it’s going a little low on the list after the top teams are out, that’s teams that will have an amazing experience at the state tournament and come around to next year even better.

As it should be.

No, it’s unfortunate because of bad planning.


One year I had the #1 skills score that hadn’t qualified but they didn’t get in because it was already full. Then that team qualified for WORLDS through that same score. So their skills score didn’t get them to states but it got them to WORLDS.

If you have more teams, you should have a bigger state tournament or more state tournaments. You just increase capacity. This actually gets me going. Regions should plan for 40% of the teams to qualify for states, as the RECF has said for years. If your region has 100 teams, then at least 40 should make the state tournament. So you find 40%, and you make it work. And if the teams in your state are so good that really good teams aren’t getting to states then you make it bigger the next year. And if tournaments only have 3 teams from each qualifying for states you make states bigger. You have years to plan.

We generally go pretty low on the skills list. I remember in TP a skills score of I think 10 or 11 would get you in states in FL. Part of the reason is that the kids don’t take skills seriously, even year after year as this happens. I forget what the TT cutoff was, but it was under 15 I think. (I may be getting MS and HS mixed up)