2016 Rookie Team Criteria

The formation of new FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) teams is critical to FIRST Founder Dean Kamen's vision of changing the culture, and creating the spirit of Gracious Professionalism® that is open and friendly to new participants. We recognize the commitment teams and mentors must make to get a first year team "off the ground" and for this reason FIRST grants qualifying first-year teams "Rookie" team status, which comes with specific incentives and recognition including:

  1. Rookie All-Star Award - Celebrates rookie teams successfully implementing the mission of FIRST and having strong partnerships;
  2. Rookie Inspiration Award - Celebrates rookie teams outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers;
  3. Rookie Grants - to help first year teams get financially off the ground. For more information regarding Rookie Grants, please click on the following link: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/available-frc-grants

As FIRST continues to grow and teams expand in existing FIRST areas, it is important for us to have guidelines for qualifying as a "Rookie" team. For the 2016 season, these guidelines are:

1. A new team that starts in a school/organization/alliance that has never run a FRC team before would be considered a Rookie (note: most teams are formed within a single school, but some comprise two or more schools, or are organizations such as Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, home schools, etc.).

2. A returning team that has not been in a competition for three years would be considered a Rookie; that is, going into the 2016 season, the team cannot have competed in seasons 2015, 2014 or 2013. Teams, whose last competition season was 2012 or earlier, can return during the 2016 season as a Rookie with a 2016 Rookie team number, OR, they can continue as a veteran with their original team number. Teams that choose to register as a veteran are not eligible for the above listed Rookie incentives and recognition.

3. Where multiple schools were combined into a single team, and that team now wants to separate into different teams, or any single team wants to separate into different teams, the new teams do not qualify as Rookies unless the requirements set forth above in 2 are met. These teams will need to register as a "new" team in the Team Information Management System (TIMS) by clicking on the Create/Re-establish a Team link, and following all steps accordingly. See 2016 Team Combines and Separations for additional details.

4. Where multiple existing teams want to combine into one team, the new team does not qualify as a Rookie unless the requirements set forth above in 2 are met. The team will need to register as a "new" team in TIMS by clicking the Create/Re-establish a Team link, and following all steps accordingly. See 2016 Team Combines and Separations for additional details.

5. If a mentor or teacher from an existing team leaves and starts a team at a new school, that team does qualify as a Rookie team.

6. If individual students who have been involved in a team leave that school and start a team in their new school that team also is generally considered a Rookie providing it meets condition 1, and does not involve sufficient students to be considered a version of condition 3. As a maximum, the number of students in the new team that have competed in prior teams must not exceed 5.

It is important to remember that these are guidelines only and FIRST will review special situations on a case-by-case basis as they are brought to our attention. Teams that do not meet the guidelines and wish to submit a petition for Rookie Status may do so by writing to us at frcteams@usfirst.orgWe ask the following be added to the subject line: “Request for 2016 Rookie Status” along with a full description of the situation.

We want to thank all FIRST teams and team mentors for their continued support of FIRST and our Rookie teams. Without your support, we could not make the FIRST experience available to all of the new young people wishing to participate.