Tournament Judging Issue

I’m relatively new to the VEX program, and this is the first year our school has participated in the VEX IQ tournaments. We just participated in an event where we had a strong showing (our teams alliance came in second, and the team came in 4th in Robot Skills). We had a strong STEM project, and maxed out the score for the Engineering Notebook according to the rubric we were given back. We ended up walking away with none of the major awards for the event. However one of the event judges came to me afterwards, and told me that our team was going to be given the Excellence award, but since our team had already qualified for the state tournament elsewhere, the event organizer passed us over and gave the award to another team that had not yet qualified.

Has anyone else run into a situation like that? I know there aren’t too many options after the fact, but I’d like to know what others did if/when they were in the same situation.

Thanks for any insight you have!

This is normal. We experienced this situation before. At least you were told (nice), we found out later on… Some event partners follow the rules, some not. Just depends on how things roll. This is called spreading the wealth within the community. However, you will hear many views on this particular subject. Since you have qualified previously, keep the team spirit positive.

It’s unfair to exclude teams that have already qualified. The state tournaments are supposed to be the best of the best, and this practice degrades the quality of the state event.

Teams that have trouble qualifying at an event should try and qualify through skills scores.

Our state tournament is already filled. I’m not sure if this is the issue, but every team that qualifies because teams are excluded takes a spot from a team that could have qualified by skills. Teams that qualify through skills make a better regional event than teams that qualify by having a better team excluded.

As an event partner myself, I follow the rules because it makes for a better regional tournament.

Wow! Our state is a little bit different. We have never excluded anyone from the Excellence award because they have already qualified for state. I know that, because in four tournaments, only five teams have qualified for state. The same teams keep winning. Our state tournament is going to be populated almost completely from robot skills.

One of our teams went to the first tournament of the season and was excluded from Excellence, because they won Teamwork. The EP wanted to send more teams to State. Of course, the number of teams at State will not change.

They’ve also attended two tournaments that had a skills competition, but did not give a skills award.

Excluding a team from awards because of pre-existing qualification or teamwork win is wrong. If not for any other reason, then at least because it could jeopardise the team’s chance at presenting their STEM and Design at worlds.

I haven’t had situations like this happen since I did VRC and FTC in HS way back when. FTC in VA still does it a bit, to spread the wealth. But since the State championship model in VEX, we really haven’t done things like this. It felt wrong then, it feels wrong now. As an EP, I’m never gonna exclude someone from an award just because they won the event.

We had this happen for the first time (that we know of) this year in VRC. We went to 3 tournaments over the past couple of months that used the same judge. He gave our kids Excellence at the first one, then told them at the next two that he wouldn’t interview them since they had won enough and that he felt they had a chance to win excellence at World’s. BTW, they won Excellence at all tournaments (6 so far) except for the two where he would not judge them. He told them he wanted to give other kids the chance to go to State, but then went and gave the Excellence to a team at one event, then gave the same team Design at the next. So there goes that explanation.

I’m not saying they should have won, but they should at least have the same chance as everyone else to be judged. I just think you are paying to enter the competition and it should be based on merit. Skills fills the rest of the State field.

BTW, I emailed the EP’s about the issue after the 3rd time, they didn’t know he was doing it. They didn’t agree with it, although one said he could “see both sides” of the argument.

The sad thing is, the team that is winning started with a claw bot like everyone else, in 8th grade. This is their senior year, last shot, and they get to put up with this type of silliness from adults after putting an incredible amount of work into their robot and notebook (as does everyone else).

I am also confused about the judging with VEX.

The website offers a rubric for STEM which I used for a guideline. I assumed that after the competition that the rubrics would be returned to the coaches, but it was not returned. I requested a copy while at the competition as well as via email afterwards. I never received a copy. I would like to have the rubric to see what areas my students need to work on. I would also like for the emcee to maybe give a brief description of the winning team’s STEM project.

Another source of confusion (or should i say frustration?) happened recently at an event which my team did not compete in but my daughter’s team did. The team that my daughter is on ran their autonomous and was told that they had a score of 34 but the judge did not show them the score sheet or have them sign off. Once we came home and I checked the scores on line my daughter’s team’s score was listed as an 18!! Why would they be told they scored a 34 and then it be listed as an 18?? They were listed in second place, only 2 points behind the winning team. Needless to say 16 points would have made a difference.

I think you just had bad luck. Maybe this event partner is also new so they are learning the ropes. Usually a brief mention of the stem project is given before the award is given to the winning team, not just call the winning team and handout it 5sec or so. The rubric is supposed to be handed back at the end of the event. Also the score in all runs (skills, matches) is agreed upon by the drivers and the scoring judge. You are also advised to see the scoreboard and contact the judge if something is not right; you do not wait so late before checking. There is sometimes a mismatch between what is entered at TM so a request to check on it should fix it.