Why 7 MS divisions?

During pre-Covid years, my team is one of those that usually had their designs copied (ok… I am assuming that their designs are so well received that many teams noticed it. lol).

And I can assured you that none of my students felt dis-inspired. In fact, it actually pushed them on to ensure they are coming out with better iterations of the designs, etc.
And if or whenever they were beaten by another team that took inspirations from their original design, their usual reactions are - this team is so smart! they modified or adapted the design better than us.

Of course there will always be certain amount of unhappiness due to losing a match, but never about another team figuring out a better iterations of their original designs.


if your team is good enough to create designs worth widely copying and adapting by other teams, you likely do not have the type of mindset to be de-inspired after losing for any reason, or you wouldn’t have come up with good ideas in the first place.


I have found that I am personally fine with losing under fair circumstances. What is really disheartening, is when you loose a match, because of poor reffing and other things factors outside of your control. I have lost tournaments this due to referees making blatantly incorrect derisions. I have seen judges hand out awards when teams did not meet the criteria for these awards. That is what is really disheartening.


of course, I know from personal experience how disheartening this is, but like you said, entirely outside of a team’s control when that happens. You can be both disheartened and still motivated at the same time though. My point was mainly directed at losing because someone “copied” your robot and then beat you. Which really doesn’t seem to happen much at all, and when it does it’s usually because the team that “copied” you really just did a better job in general, which was entirely within your control to account for. If a team invents something worth copying, they have to constantly work to stay ahead of the progression curve in order to retain their advantage, that’s just simply the only way to be good at the competition.


I mostly agree with all of what you said; I just felt like it was worth mentioning the other people to be inspired.

I did not intend to divert this thread to a discussion of copied robots, either; that was just an example. Students are upset about teams getting in from the wait list, losing to copied robots, MS teams getting a free win in the finals, BO1, SG3, and dozens of other things that are not for this thread to discuss. And when they get responses like, “RECF wants to inspire roboteers,” I can’t help thinking, “This is an uninspired roboteer.”

But I do think some things just have to be dealt with; no competition is perfect, so we’ll basically just have to put up with 7 MS divisions, unfair refs, etc.

1 Like

But serious - you mean there are students that get dis-inspired because of this?

I am not dismissing the students’ concerns regarding perceived unfair practices, etc.
My teams had our fair share of poor referring decisions, etc,
Deflated for a moment - yes.
But dis-inspired? Think that’s too strong a word to use.

Don’t get me wrong - I do have my gripes regarding how worlds spots are allocated, etc, my students whined and winced about it too. And I admit, there were times they felt a bit disheartened too. But they always come back stronger and think of other ways to go round the issues.


If “winning” is the only success criteria students have going into World’s, there’s going to be all but 2 teams that are upset. Most people when they get upset look to blame others, rightly or wrongly. The ref made a bad call, the team that met the RECF’s criteria for a bye in the Playoffs had an easier time than me, that team copied that other team. Instead, focus that emotion and energy on introspection and what you could have done better.

TBH, if one of my students said that they had to “put up with…unfair refs”, I’d sit them down and tell them “win anyway”. Don’t build in excuses for yourself. Overcome the challenges thrown at you.


I think it’s funny how people are complaining about teams having an easier time by receiving that bye in playoffs. I kind of see it the other way though. These elimination brackets will be the highest tier and most glorious matches of the entire season. Getting to skip one of these matches to me would be a tremendous disappointment, not a gift.

in defense of teams complaining of refs, sometimes “win anyway” isn’t an option. Sometimes the bad ref call resulted in a team being eliminated from a tournament, and sometimes that will end a team’s season. Instead of saying “win anyways” in direct reference to the competition, it should be in reference to the growth and enjoyment of the team. My team likes to look at murphy’s law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) as the thing standing between us and victory in a match. Sometimes, you can beat murphy. Other times, you simply can’t. Sometimes you can learn from murphy, and other times, you simply can’t. But the takeaway should not be whether you won or lost a particular match, but if you grew as a team, enjoyed the competition, and gave murphy the best you could, regardless of what he spat back out at you.


This is one of the best piece of advice you can get. What win anyway looks very different from team to team, and sometimes takes a long view. Long view, if you are concerned with officiation, then win by eventually becoming part of the officiation process. Our very best referees are those that have competed and are giving back now in the college years and beyond. 44/QQC2 is a prime example of this, and many others in VRC universe.


I have a few issues with this.

  1. Skills being included: this does represent many parts of VEX but it does not represent a major component: teamwork.
  2. Using awards as a ranking system could backfire. Teams could look at which tournaments have a less good quality or a lower number of teams. Some regions may have a lower quality field, leading to the very best teams in that country winning absolutely everything. Also, you say Championship wins. That indicates participation in many state/national/regional championships, which is not possible for some teams that still may be good. They may also be far away from any signature events.
  3. Using an ELO like system kind of assumes that each bubble of teams have a similar average quality (by bubble, I mean country or state or any group of teams that don’t play against teams outside of that group often, like in the UK).
  4. When a team goes to worlds, whatever their quality, they expect to play against the best and get inspired. Quality based divisions WILL NOT WORK.
1 Like

To my mind, “win anyway” is the same thing as “put up with it”. You can’t fix it, so stop complaining and work on what you can change.

I know. That’s not my success criterion. When we go to Worlds, I’m going to be happy to watch matches, meet teams, have fun, and not lose miserably.

Great. I thought I made it clear, I mostly don’t agree with whining and complaining about stuff if it won’t help anything. What I was trying to say was, whenever people condone unfairness saying that it inspires those benefited by the unfairness, I think of all the teams hurt by the unfairness and wonder why it’s not okay to inspire them.

For example, teams getting into Worlds for getting on the wait list sooner. Sure, we’re inspiring them by choosing people first-come, first-serve, but couldn’t we inspire the other team that would get in just as much by choosing them on, for example, a skills score basis? If you’re arguing that it’s inspiring to get a surprise World’s invite, is that any reason to choose Team A for getting on the wait list quickly over Team B for having a good skills score?

1 Like

Also tournament wins is a poor metric for smaller regions like Singapore and Finland who were unable to hold in-person tournaments/ in-person regional championships this season (both held remote skills events, with Finland’s being a last-minute event as their regional championship got postponed) so the ranking for those teams would be messed up (just like how teams who did not compete that much got shafted at the 2020 VRC “World Championship” Simulation).

This means that objectively good teams like the 8059 series would get placed in easier divisions and would have an objectively easier path to the overall division v division bracket (but they probably would have made it anyways, 8059 OP)


Yes, it is definitely worth it. For multiple reasons. I will summarize:

The REC Foundation mission is not to determine “the best robot” at the VEX Robotics World Robotics Championship. Our mission is to increase student interest and involvement in STEM by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs. We do understand that the competition is critical to this mission since it provides an exciting means to fulfill our mission. And I feel competition reinforces what students learn in the classroom. I love that our program encourages the iterative design process where students design, build, fail, evaluate, redesign, rebuild and compete again. VEX Worlds is a celebration of teams that have demonstrated success using this project based learning model through awards, online challenges and of course performing well in robot competitions. So we will always welcome all kinds of teams to celebrate and be inspired at VEX Worlds!!

The VEX Robotics World Championship is an amazing experience for the teams that get to attend. I’ve had students tell me that it is “life changing”, “inspiring”, “made me want to work harder” and “convinced me to pursue a STEM career”. While we have been working very hard to make the State / Regional championships the championship event teams strive to qualify for, we also understand teams love VEX Worlds. They love to meet and compete with teams from around the world. They want to experience the “dome” with the amazing graphics and special effects. They want to see the best robots from the top programs compete but also get and give support from other programs that are more similar to theirs – to see that they belong. Therefore, we want to give more teams this exciting experience! In 2019, we had 1700 teams out of 24,000 registered teams qualify. This is only 7%!!! In 2020 we had 27,000 registered teams so the percentage was going to be even lower (6%). We knew we needed to increase capacity to VEX Worlds. This is one of the reasons we selected Dallas as the host city and changed the format to four consecutive competitions (vs the previous two). This year, approximately 15% of teams qualified but a significant amount are not able to attend because of the lingering impacts of the pandemic. Hence the waitlist invitations. Next year we expect to be back to pre-pandemic numbers so the qualifying percentage will be 11% (Ideally, we will never be less than 10%).

Filling up the event keeps the costs reasonable. The RECF pays the same costs for to set up 10 divisions whether all programs actually have 10 divisions or not. VRH HS will always fill up 10 Divisions through qualifying events (and still have over a 300-team waitlist). So that 10 division cost is sunk. Spreading this cost over the 3000 teams keeps the per team cost lower. When JROTC was able to consolidate to one division, it freed up a division. We have already incurred the cost for that division and the registration fee was set with the assumption we would have teams for that division. That is $96,000 in registration fees. To absorb that, we would have to increase the costs somewhere else. I know the REC Foundation is a non profit but we are still a business that has to cover our costs, and let’s be honest, it has been a tough two years….

Thanks to all you coaches, teachers, volunteers and EPs out there that understand why we do this and continue to support the REC Foundation mission!

Best Regards,

Dan Mantz
CEO - REC Foundation