FRC Blog

New FIRST Robotics Competition Rules for 2021, and a Few Other Updates!

Jun 19, 2020 Written by Frank Merrick.



New FIRST Robotics Competition Rules for 2021

We've made a number of rules changes for the 2021 FRC Season. Check them out here. These are not changes to the game itself (sorry, you'll have to wait until Kickoff for those!) but other rules changes we thought you need to know now so you could plan your approach to 2021.


First, as we noted in the COVID-19 Impact Update you will be able to keep working on your 2020 robot and use it in the 2021 season. Also, any robot that was legal for competition use in 2020 will be legal for competition use in 2021! This means that if you wanted to, or had no other choice, you could show up at a 2021 competition with your same robot from 2020 and still compete.


Second, we are eliminating the BOM requirement. While we had good intentions with the BOM, the rules were probably the most complex we had in the manual and a source of frequent frustration. Also, we feel that with the strengthening of the 'you need to build your own robot' rules, the fact that we are still keeping the $500 individual component limit, and the diminishing returns teams eventually experience by spending more and more on their robot, this is unlikely to exacerbate equity issues. However, we recognize this is a very new approach, so we will be keeping a close eye on 2021 to see if this goes in an unintended and undesired direction, and we may adjust in 2022.


Please note that, as we say in the doc, the 'use last year's robot' changes are only for 2021, and the BOM rules changes are likely to be long-term unless we run into issues.


Other Updates

If you can, check out the 'May the Cake Be With You' episode of Food Network’s Duff Takes the Cake! on June 22 at 10 PM Eastern Time. This episode was partly filmed at the LA North Regional this year, and you just may see some familiar teams!


Also, I wanted to let everyone know that while things may seem quiet at FIRST HQ, we are working very hard behind the scenes to plan for 2021 and even 2022! Just yesterday a large group of FRC staffers went into the office for some necessary in-person 2022 game design work - keeping safe of course! The great majority of the FIRST staff is still working remotely and on the rare occasions when we need to be in the office for critical work, we're wearing masks, having our temperatures checked at the door, keeping social distance, etc. We're being safe and I hope you are too! 


And about those 2021 plans - we are considering the full range of what 2021 may look like with respect to the FRC season. As you can imagine, it's slow going with the amount of uncertainty involved. But I promise you we are not sitting on our hands, and when we have more definitive information to share we will do so.



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Hi just a quick question about the rules. I am a mentor and robot inspector and I was just wondering if the BOM is not going to be in use anymore how are robot inspectors this game going to know if a part costs $500 or not? 



Hello Daniel!

As stated in the Blue Box of R12, "Teams should be ready to show inspectors documentation of Fair Market Value (FMV) for any COMPONENTS that appear to be in the range of the $500 USD limit."

We are working on this specific procedure and training with our Co-Chief LRIs. If you have suggestions, please send them to


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition


Did FIRST come to a decision regarding allowing teams that competed in 2020 FRC regionals and earned invitations to their respective 2020 World Championships  to be allowed automatically to invited to the 2021 FRC World Championships?





Hello Weyland!

No, we have not decided about that yet. We plan to have a decision before Event Registration opens for the 2021 season.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Hello FIRST,

My name is Megan. I'm a rising junior in Wisconsin and I am founder of a new FRC team. I have been involved in FLL and FTC over the last six-year. I understand rookie team can not submit for the chairmans award, and instead can receive the Rookie All Star award. With the unusually circumstances, I completely understand that teams that were rookies in the 2019-20 FIRST Rise season keep their rookie status. However, I was wondering if there will be any opportunities to differentiate teams that are completely new for the 2020-21 season, as starting in the middle of the pandemic and having to build a new robot and begin outreach gives our team much greater challenges than other "rookie" teams that already have a functioning robot and established outreach? Our team was very motivated to do well by the chance of being recognized as a great rookie team, but feel we will struggle to complete with teams that were founded over a year before us and were able to build a solid foundation before the pandemic hit. Thank you so much for your continued work for the FIRST community during these difficult times. 

Hello Megan!

Great question! We are working with our Co-Chief Judge Advisors on the awards process in this unprecedented situation. We realize that the term “rookie” will look different for some teams this season, but we also believe that we can work closely with all our Judge Advisors to make sure the Rookie All Star Award celebrates the teams in the best way possible.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Several teams that never got to play this year would like to request that our seniors at least get to participate in one event this next year. Teams that got to play in t lest one event got to play with the robot they helped to build ], program, etc. Please consider this request.

Hello Kelly!

Thanks for sharing your request. We appreciate it! We still have not made a decision about this topic yet. 


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Is the elimination of R14 intended to be only for 2021 or are you considering allowing it to span multiple years.

Hi Neal.

As noted in the document, the changes to R14 are intended to be for the 2021 season only.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

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