As mentioned in Awards and Advancement, teams are expected to uphold the Core Values during the entire season, especially at a tournament.  This section details the types of issues and the consequences, as well as the investigative process used by Central Valley Robotics when issues arise at a tournament. 

Types of Core Values Concerns and their Consequences

The list below is broken into two categories: Orange and Red level behaviors. 

Orange Level Concerns

These behaviors are considered minor violations of the Core Values and when observed, are delivered to the Judge Advisor for the event for further investigation.  For valid and proven claims, Judges will use records of orange level behaviors when deciding between teams for awards.

Examples of Orange Level Concerns

  • Team or Adult Behaviors
    • Hostile or aggressive behavior
    • Disrespect toward others
    • Poor sportsmanship
    • Bullying
    • Inappropriate language or topics of conversation
    • Adult Intervention
      • Adult handling of the robot, computer, or other materials
      • Adult using a computer. (Further investigation required to determine if the coach was programming a robot.)
      • Team members cannot answer questions or demonstrate understanding of their work. (Unclear situations or Judges’ intuitions remain Orange without additional evidence.)
      • Adult speaking in judging sessions. (Occasionally there is an obvious and appropriate reason).
      • Adult attempting to appeal Robot Game scores

Red Level Concerns

These behaviors are considered major violations of the Core Values and when they are observed they are immediately reported the Judge Advisor for further investigation.  The Judge Advisor will contact Central Valley Robotics as part of the investigation.   For valid and proven reports, the Director of Central Valley Robotics will authorize the offending teams to be disqualified from the event (including all awards) and all Robot Game scores may be zeroed at the discretion of the Head Referee and/or Director of Central Valley Robotics. 

These situations are very rare in this program.  This policy exists in the event an unfortunate situation does occur.  Central Valley Robotics staff will be involved in all reports of Red Level Concerns.     

Examples of Red Level Concerns

  • Team or Adult Behaviors
    • Criminal behavior (stealing, vandalism, physical fights, etc.)
    • Clear evidence of serious bullying or abusive behavior
    • Clear evidence an adult did the work for the team
    • Adult intervention does not stop after a direct warning
    • Clear evidence of cheating or intentionally negatively impacting another team’s experience

The Disqualification Process

In rare circumstances, behaviors or choices by a team or its members may lead to a partial or full disqualification.  Central Valley Robotics does not take this process lightly and has defined a process that is used to help ensure fairness and transparency.  Central Valley Robotics trains our event staff to do their best to try to investigate all reports to help ensure fairness for all teams. 

Types of Disqualifications

There are two main types of disqualifications: Core Values (discussed above) and Challenge Rules.  A challenge rules violation occurs when the required aspects of the challenge are not met. Some examples are:

  • Robot Materials Rule violation: too many motors or other limited items. 
  • Project Incomplete: failure to demonstrate all three aspects of the project (Problem, Solution, and Sharing with the community) during the Project judging session. Note: teams need to share with the community prior to sharing with the judges at an event. 
  • Project Off-topic: a team’s project does not properly address the challenge topic. 

The Investigative Process

Central Valley Robotics treats all reports the same and attempts to investigate all reports received.  The Program operates on the benefit of the doubt and Central Valley Robotics attempts to avoid making assumptions or conclusions that are detrimental to a team unless we have clear and accurate proof.  If the Head Referee or Judge Advisor receives a report from a Team Member or Event Staff, they will proceed to investigate the claim to the best of their ability. 

For example, in the event we receive a report of a “coach programming the robot”, we must first investigate to ensure that the coach was actually programming on the computer or was just simply checking their email.  We must attempt to answer the following questions: to what extent did the coach use the software?  Were they showing a student where to find a block, or were they adding the block themselves?  Here are some other situations:

  • If we see a coach handling the robot: is the coach overstepping their bounds or were they asked by the kids to investigate a problem they themselves could not solve?  
  • If a project judge reports that a team did not meet the project requirements:  did they attempt to touch all the required parts (identify problem, find solution, and share)?  Central Valley Robotics must be able to say with certainty that the team did not meet a requirement prior to the event day.   (Note: judges cannot truly count anything the team pledges to do in the future.  All three components should be completed prior to the event day)
  • If a project judge reports that a team is off-topic: Is there no way that we can make their project fit the topic? Did some part of the presentation get misinterpreted?

The Judge Advisor or Head Referee will proceed to interview staff members or judges to ensure that they have an accurate picture of the event that occurred and make the fairest call possible.  Some examples:

  • In the event that a team used illegal parts during a match on the official playing fields, the Head Referee will decide if the team should have the match and any previous matches zeroed, as well as determine what will happen regarding future matches.  Regardless of the Head Referee’s decision, the incident will be reported to the judges during deliberations and therefore may affect award consideration or advancement.
  • In the event of a coach handling/programming the robot, the Judge Advisor will determine if the violation falls under either Orange or Red Level and take appropriate actions to notify the judges during deliberations.  

The Incident Report

Central Valley Robotics has an incident report that will be used to record a Core Values or Challenge Rules incident at official Central Valley Robotics events.  The Event Staff will make every attempt to deliver this report to the team prior to closing ceremonies and deliver a copy to Central Valley Robotics for official records.   The Incident Report represents the final decision on the investigation and cannot be appealed onsite.  Following the event, teams may contact Central Valley Robotics for further discussion on the contents of the Incident Report.  A copy of the Incident Report can be found here: Team Incident Report Public.pdf