I think this is an exciting one.
We have many veteran teams in FRC who work extraordinarily hard year round to put themselves in a position of being able to attend several Regionals each season. These teams sometimes also do well when it comes to awards, occasionally earning Championship qualifying awards at more than one Regional. These teams absolutely deserve all the accolades they receive, and are rightly looked up to and respected. However, when a single team wins more than one Championship qualifying award over the course of several regionals, it does reduce the total number of teams attending Championship based on merit.
We’ve developed a Wild Card system for the 2013 season that will provide broader distribution of merit-based Championship slots. More details will be forthcoming, but I wanted to provide you with an outline of the system now.
If a team who wins a Regional in 2013 – in other words, if a team who is a member of the Winning Alliance – has already qualified for Championship at an earlier Regional in 2013, a ‘Wild Card’ slot is created at the Regional which they just won. Wild Card slots are filled in the order of Finalist Alliance Captain, Finalist First Pick, Finalist Second Pick, and Finalist Backup Team. Wild Card slots are passed to the next team in order only if the team occupying that Wild Card slot has, itself, already qualified for Championship at an earlier Regional in 2013. The number of potential Wild Card slots created at each Regional is equal to the number of teams on the winning alliance who had already qualified for Championship at an earlier Regional in 2013. Only teams on the Finalist Alliance are eligible for Wild Card slots. It’s possible for a Wild Card slot to go unused, and unused Wild Card slots will not be replaced or backfilled.
Teams who are part of the District model and attend a traditional Regional are eligible for Wild Card slots in the same way as all other teams at the Regional.
Note that only performance in the 2013 FRC season is considered in creating and awarding Wild Card slots. Championship status based on pre-qualification (Original and Sustaining Teams, Hall of Fame Teams, 2012 FIRST Championship Winners, etc.) has no bearing on this system.
I’ll blog again soon.