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All comments should embody the FIRST values of Gracious Professionalism® and will be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for helping to keep the conversation civil and productive.

Posted On:
Fri, 07/26/2013 - 17:08

On yesterday's FRC Blog entry discussing our alliance selection procedure, a negative comment was posted that was directed to two specific teams.  Negative comments about specific teams or individuals are not in the intended spirit of this blog, and we should not have allowed them to be posted. I sincerely apologize for that. The comment, and follow-on response, have been deleted.

I want to see honest, vigorous discussion on this blog, but I...

Posted On:
Thu, 07/25/2013 - 15:16

I’ve been thinking about the Invite to Decline (also known as the ‘Scorched Earth’) strategy that teams sometimes employ during alliance selection. 

For those unaware of this strategy, I’ll outline it.  Imagine the alliance selection process at an event is getting started.  The #1 ranked team is interested in preventing some of the other top eight ranked teams from working together, because they could form powerful alliances that would be hard to beat in the elimination rounds.  Our rules state that once a team declines an invitation to join...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/19/2013 - 16:00

Today’s good question is from Kevin Leonard, a student from Team 20 in New York.


Hi, Frank.

I'm Kevin Leonard, a student on Team 20. I was wondering about the former animation competition, why it got scrapped, and if it would ever return.

Let me give you some background on why I, a "mechanical guy", would care about this. Our team, for a few years, has had a history of making...

Posted On:
Fri, 07/12/2013 - 11:26

Today’s question comes from Alex Tannahill, an FRC Volunteer from Michigan:


I find the purpose and correct application of the Q&A cloudy.  I have heard from different sources that it only exists to provide one interpretation of the rules, on the other hand I have heard it exists to clarify any confusing rules and results should be treated as part of the manual.

I have seen Q&A results presented to inspectors been ignored...

Posted On:
Tue, 07/02/2013 - 12:47

We’ve got two exciting full time job openings in FRC that were recently posted, one for a Mechanical Engineer and one for a Software Engineer. You can find the details here: You don’t need to enter any search terms on the web page, just click the ‘Search’ button at the bottom of the ‘Job Listings’ section and you will be able to find them quickly in the list. 

Here’s the overview of the Mechanical Engineer position:

Posted On:
Fri, 06/28/2013 - 10:17

This Frank Answers Fridays feature has been getting positive reviews, which is great.  Unfortunately many of the positive comments have been directed toward me personally, when it was actually one of our fine FRC Staffers, Rose Kue, who suggested the concept, came up with the name, and even worked with the FIRST Marketing department to develop the snappy new banner.  Her suggestion fit so well with our new approach to communication, my answer was an immediate ‘Yes!’.  This is yet another example of the great ideas coming from the FRC Staff.  We’ll work to...

Posted On:
Thu, 06/20/2013 - 16:27

The news was released today that FIRST senior management has decided to update my title to remove the ‘Acting’ part, so now I’m Director of FRC.

I want to thank the incredible FRC staff for their over-the-top support throughout the last year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and again, FIRST isn’t just a job to them, it’s in their hearts. They’re the best.

I also want to thank the rest of the FIRST staff for all they’ve done in support of the FRC Program and in support of me personally. You may not know them, and may never know them,...

Posted On:
Thu, 06/20/2013 - 13:30

In the comments section of yesterday's blog post regarding the new controller for 2015, someone asked to see the reverse of the PCB.  Here you go…


Posted On:
Wed, 06/19/2013 - 13:45

National Instruments_Athena_June2013

NI will be releasing details about the 2015 FRC controller at their NI Week conference in August… but they’re excited about how...

Posted On:
Mon, 06/17/2013 - 10:05

Rookie Registration Cost Reduction

Good news. The rookie FRC team registration fee for the 2014 season will be dropping to $6,000. Veteran registration fee will hold at $5,000. 

The FRC Payment Terms webpage will be updated shortly with 2014 season information.

Adult Mentors as On-Field Coaches

In the Post-Event Survey this year, we asked teams how they felt about adult mentors being allowed to act as on-field coaches, as has been permitted by the rules for many years. I asked for this question to be included in the survey because I have been...

Posted On:
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 12:50

Note that when we answer Frank Answers Friday questions, we’ll be including the full questions as written, with two exceptions.  Several emails we’ve received have included positive comments about the FRC Staff.  These are greatly appreciated, but we’ll be editing those out to allow the focus to be on the questions themselves.  Also, if we received a single email with multiple questions, we’ll extract just the particular question we are answering that day and include that.

This week, we’re answering a question on FIRST Choice, from John Boucher, Team...

Posted On:
Tue, 06/11/2013 - 15:05

U.S. Air Force Offering Leadership Opportunity for FIRST Teachers & Mentors

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Air Force is offering an Air Force Leadership opportunity for a select group of 24 FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition Teachers and Mentors who are helping inspire today’s youth to become the technical leaders of tomorrow. Apply by June 18th to attend this exclusive leadership seminar. For full details:

Posted On:
Fri, 06/07/2013 - 16:55

By far, the most common question I received in the first batch of emails for ‘Frank Answers Friday’ was about Districts. While these aren’t hard questions, I think it’s important for me to deal with them sooner, rather than later, because they are clearly on the minds of many. Also, while I would normally publish the full question that came in, for this particular topic I’m going to just list the folks that asked instead. The questions they asked touched on several aspects of Districts, but had much in common. 

These individuals asked questions about Districts:

Posted On:
Fri, 05/31/2013 - 13:25

From the response we received to this new feature – 25 emails and counting – I think we’re going to have plenty of material to keep us busy over the summer.  Several folks sent in multiple questions on the same email, even though that wasn’t necessarily the intent (I’m looking in your direction, Jon Stratis, and several others o\~/o ), but that’s OK.

As I said, I may not be able to answer a question every Friday, but I’m going to try.

The first question I’ll be answering is from Martin Regimbald, from...

Posted On:
Thu, 05/30/2013 - 17:08

Team 4797 Owlbots

Take a look at the incredible letter and photos I just received from FRC Team 4797, the Bryant High School Owlbots, from Long Island City, New York.

The team’s bus had turned over on the way home from Championship.  No one was seriously injured, fortunately...