Something New – Chairman’s Award Eligibility

Blog Date: 
Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 16:38

Chairman’s Award is the one FRC team award for which teams must select a single event at which to compete.  This leads to some potentially negative consequences.  It reduces the pool of competing teams at a given Regional or District, if some teams are present that decided to submit for Chairman’s Award at another event.  It also strongly encourages teams to ‘event shop’, as they are forced to put all their eggs in one basket with regard to this award, and they naturally – if they have the resources and inclination to travel – may give some consideration to attending events at which they believe they have the best chance of winning this most prestigious of all FRC awards.  In addition, a one-shot-only approach does not allow teams to iterate and improve upon their Chairman’s Award presentations if they are not selected as winners their first time at bat.  This is in contrast to the iteration they can do on their robot from event to event, whether they win on the field or not.

So, for the 2014 season, teams will be eligible to win Chairman’s Award at every event they attend at their initial level of competition – District or Regional - until they win.  In other words, team’s don’t have to select a specific event at which to compete, though they can only win once at the District or Regional level.  This change does not affect competition at higher levels.  Only teams selected at the District or Regional levels will be allowed to compete for Chairman’s Award at higher levels of competition, as usual.

This change does not fully eliminate the potentially negative consequences I list above of the current system.  For example, while teams may not be putting all their eggs in one basket with this change, there still is some incentive to travel to an event if a  team believes they have a stronger chance of winning Chairman’s Award there.  I think this change will reduce the incentive in some situations, but the incentive doesn’t go away.

This change also introduces other challenges.  From a team standpoint, at many events, it will increase the competition for Chairman’s Award.  As this is our most prestigious award, I think that’s OK.  Earning Chairman’s Award should be a very competitive process.  Also, this does give teams with the resources to attend multiple events an opportunity they didn’t have before.*  On this point, I’ll say my working assumption is that the great majority of FRC teams - whether they have the resources to attend one, two, three, or more events – work extremely hard to be able to attend the events they do, and as a rule of thumb should have an opportunity to compete for all awards available at every event they attend. There are some exceptions to this guideline, and you’ll note that we did put a governor on this award. Trying to avoid the potentially demotivating effect on other teams of powerhouse teams traveling from event to event picking up the top FRC award at each,  teams can only win once at the Regional or District level.  One additional challenge falls to the judges at events, as they will be doing more interviews, and have more difficulty sorting through candidates, with this change. However, working with the FRC Chief Judge advisors, we think the benefits outweigh the costs.

I believe this change will generate some buzz.  I’m looking forward to reading those comments.


I’ll blog again soon.


*In the 2013 season, about 38% of FRC teams participated in more than one event, excluding the FIRST Championship.  With the addition of two new Districts in 2014, and assuming the percentage of non-District teams attending multiple events holds steady, that percentage should increase to somewhere in the 48% range.  The expansion of the District model is putting us on the path of multi-event teams being the norm, rather than the exception.  


Ok that doesnt souns good, because winning the chairmans award means that the most reach team will win, that is not ok.

First off, please try to use spell check before posting. Frank already spoke about how teams who work hard to raise funds to attend multiple events have their rights to compete for Chairman's at their events. Don't bring others down. Raise money if you want to attend another event as well, just like the teams who are well-off and have worked hard to get what they have. Fundraise and get more sponsors, nobody is stopping you. Whining about it won't help.

I believe he spoke to that concern above. While there is still some of that, it's not as bad as you think. Plus, isn't FIRST supposed to prepare youth for the real world? Things aren't fair in real business world, so giving youth the skill and will to move past those differences and unfairnesses will actually inspire them to do better not only in FRC but in the real business world.

This is an awesome idea. I love it!

I think this is fantastic. It allows for team to show the work they've done at multiple competitions, and definitely allows for more suggestions on what to improve. That has been our team's problem, getting feedback from the judges on what to improve upon. Thank you thank you thank you from FRC 2403 Plasma!

Hi Frank! Love the update. Question: Let's a team is attending 2 districts, but also plans to attend a regional. If they compete at a district first, then a regional, then a district, are they only qualified to compete for Chairman's at both districts and not the regional?


That's quite a curve ball!
I think it's probably a good change, because it gives good teams a better chance at winning.
It also may change the strategy some...

Personally, I am quite conflicted on this change. I think it will definitely raise the competitiveness of the Chairman's Award, and as a result, I look forward to seeing the incredible things that come out of it. On the other hand, as a mentor on an international team (all the way in Australia), it is not always feasible for teams to go to more than one regional and the shift towards the District model means there is even less choice of regionals for us. All the more incentive for us to start our own regional (2015!), but nevertheless, the issue stands.

Are teams competing in district events required to submit at their district events and prevented from submitting at regionals?

This will not eliminate some of the 'event shopping' done, which is generally practiced by the more affluent FRC teams.
However, there are the good points to consider: the increase in competitiveness and the fact that the Chairman's Presentation can be improved upon with each subsequent regional--just like improvements and changes to robots when more than one regional is attended.
Overall, I think it's a good move. Event shopping will probably always be present in FIRST, but now this expansion in the competition for Chairman's adds to the prestige and illustriousness of winning the award.

I think this is Fantastic. All the time and work that goes into putting a Chairman's presentation together is extensive. The students should have the opportunity to hone their skills and learn from the Judges feedback.

This is great!

This will only benefit wealthy teams that can afford to go to multiple events. Apart from this, I think that FRC should lower their fees. My students have an awful lot of trouble finding resources to go your events.

Nothing is stopping your team from raising more money and gathering more sponsors in order to achieve the same goal. FIRST has many resources for fundraising, as does the organization called NEMO. I suggest you check it out.

Google returns a plethora of results when searching for NEMO. Can you be more specific? Our team is based in a rural area with few large businesses willing to provide financial backing. The students do a *ton* of work with very small returns.
When googling something in FRC, I've found it's best to put "FIRST Robotics" before it. Makes sorting through everything else on Google a lot easier.

My team has been wanting to do multiple events for some time now, and this year we are really going to do it. This is the best news I've heard all morning (although its only 4 am)

As the robot gets to compete at every event, so should the Chairman's team. The pressures of winning Chairman's will still be there but at least we have more chances at the prize. More teams will qualify to go to worlds. More motivation will be generated and the spirit of competition and co-operation (separated on purpose) will grow. This inclusive decision is a very wise one. Kudos to the game changers.

As the robot gets to compete at every event, so should the Chairman's team. The pressures of winning Chairman's will still be there but at least we have more chances at the prize.<~~~Couldn't agree more! The kids working on Chariman's presentation put a lot of work into it and deserve to "compete" at each event!

Is there any thought to applying the same idea to the Woodie Flowers or Dean's list award?

I agree, Great Idea. Let's not stop there. Make it so that a Team can only win once per season with all the awards, Rookie, Engineering, Entrepreneur, ect. A Team could win Rookie at one event and Engineering at another.

We have submitted a Chairman's award every year at our nearby regional, the only one we attend. Most of the teams are local, but there are always 3-5 high powered teams in attendance. We enjoy seeing their machines and competing alongside them as they are an inspiration. We have made it to the finals as an alliance member with them.

However with this change the deck is stacked in favor of these teams for Chairman's. Not every team can make it to 2-3 regionals. I'm not sure we will submit a Chairman's entry this year.

Although this new award can favor teams the real question is "WHY DO YOU WANT TO WIN CHAIRMAN's at a competition. Yes it will be harder but that should deter teams who are looking at it just as another award.

To win chairman's is about who you are as a team and what you do. Not how many regionals you can attend.

If the simple fact that more teams are competing for it is enough to deter your team then you should question how much you understand the meaning of Chairman's.

Go for it. The worst that happens is you don't win. Then you've learned. And where's the bad side of that.
Have Fun

Choosing not to submit at all is like folding without even looking at the cards you are dealt. If you decide not to submit at all, simply because more teams are competing for Chairman's at your event, then you may want to reconsider what you think the Chairman's award actually stands for.

Does this mean that a team under the required Michigan model that chooses to first attend a REGIONAL event may only submit for chairman's at REGIONAL events? Or may that team also submit at their required two district events after they have attended a regional event? It sounds as if your INITIAL event is the determining factor, and that you may submit at one or the other type of event (district or regional), not both. Please clarify or affirm that my interpretation is correct.

Great idea, this will really help keep the teams focused on the event they can attend.

This is a great change, helping to eliminate what we suspect has been an unintended consequence of the increasing shift to a model that includes Districts. I think this change is the first of several changes which would could help make the Chairman's Award more relevant and competitive. Anything that encourages more teams to focus on this award would be great. Few teams compete for the Chairman's Award, and it would be interesting to see why.

This is a great thing! Thanks!!

Well, I guess I didn't read that clearly the first time, but I don't understand why Michigan or other district teams would be penalized. If they pay the registration fee for a Regional, why wouldn't they be allowed to compete for it there? Not really liking that if it does restrict district participants. But, I'm happy that teams have more than one opportunity to try for it!

This is an awesome new rule!


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