Unofficial Answer: Finalists rule violation on both sides

OP: https://vexforum.com/t/answered-finalists-rule-violation-on-both-sides/45149/1

Note: my unofficial answer may be more of an opinion, albeit a well-reasoned one. Use this answer appropriately. I will be a referee at the Tennessee State Championship and have 2 tournaments under my belt as a referee as of this writing, with 1 more to come between now and states.

@Jquint05 Except in the case of <G12> and <S1>, for a DQ to even be considered, the violation itself has to be Match Affecting (i.e. the violation caused a change of outcome in terms of who is the winner and loser). Otherwise, the violation, regardless of severity, is deemed a warning (unless we’re talking about <G12> and/or <S1>, but that’s not the case in your situation). Usually, the question of whether a violation is Match Affecting or not is something that is answered numerically, i.e. by looking at how many points the violating alliance likely prevented the opposing alliance from scoring, but other non-numerical circumstances may be at play and ultimately, it’s the head referee’s call as to whether a violation meets the criteria for a Match Affecting violation.

Normally, as long as only one alliance commits a violation, it’s relatively easy to judge whether the violation itself was Match Affecting or not, and apply the appropriate penalty. However, when we get into the situation where both alliances commit a violation that could be severe enough to potentially be Match Affecting, that gets muddled, because it could be impossible to assign which points were lost by what alliance due to the other’s violation. If I were head referee, and the determination is inconclusive, then given your description of the circumstances, I would have ordered a replay of the match due to an inconclusive outcome, which in my opinion would be an extreme circumstance per <G16>. I’d feel uncomfortable with certifying the results of that match if both alliances played dirty; I do not believe that two wrongs make a right when it comes to the Vex Robotics Competition. What if it had escalated to multiple violations on both sides? Does committing a violation give the other alliance a free pass to commit a violation as well? As referees, our job is to ensure every team has a fair chance to play and win matches and we carry that out by enforcing the rules. I simply would not allow a violation to slide because the other alliance also committed a violation, as it would be unfair to the other teams for a violation to go unpunished, especially those teams that may be later playing against that same violating team.

Also, I do not think it’s legal for referees to look to the skills results to determine an outcome like this, as it’s unsupported by the game manual, especially if one team on an alliance did not play skills. Skills takes place in a different regime than normal qualifying and elimination matches, and so comparing skills runs to regular matches would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Although the GDC will provide the official ruling on your question, I hope this answer helps in the meantime.