“Given this change in the definition of Autonomous Period, am I right to interpret the ITZ definition as precluding Adults from programming the robot for the Autonomous Period, or has it always been that way across the past several games?”
It has always been an unwritten understanding that the robot should be built by students and the robot should be programmed (for the autonomous period or any other period) by students. Therefore, this language is there to make it a written rule, not an unwritten understanding.
True in a sense. But maybe, just maybe it will help prevent a few adults from doing what the students should be doing. Those that are acting, in my opinion, unethically, will continue to do so whether the rule is written or not.
I think it’s just going to make some mentors hesitant to be helpful at competitions. My colleagues and I have had to help on competition days when the teams programmer couldn’t be there. It’s a dumb, “feel good” rule.
On the other hand, it will make students help students from different teams/schools. I have this witnessed on numerous occasions with other teams helping my kids at events and as a judge. It brings the very best out of the teams when they do it.