ROBOT League Update – July 2013

FTCicon_RGBRobotics Organized Builders of Tampa (ROBOT) League Coaches and Volunteers,

Can you believe that we are less than 2 months away from the FTC 2013-14 season kick-off?  Last year was a great learning experience for the new FTC league system and we received great feedback from all of you.  We have been reviewing the feedback in the last couple of months and will likely be making some changes to the tournament kit and the league structure.  More about these improvements as we get closer to the kick-off.  We will soon need to start putting together our operational teams and make decisions about tournament dates and locations.  Therefore, I will schedule a meeting for late August to kick-off the officially ROBOT League 2013-14 season.

The remainder of this ROBOT League Update contains information on the following topics:

1.       FTC Kick-off Location for Florida

2.       League Fee – Please Register Your Teams

3.       Rookie Team Funding from Rockwell Collins

4.       New Motors Coming from Pitsco/Tetrix

5.       Shorter FTC Season Due to Super Regional

ROBOT League Update Details:

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1.       FTC Kick-off Location For Florida  – Exciting news for teams in the Tampa area; the Florida FTC Kick-Off will be held at Middleton High School on September 7, 2013.  Teams will not need to drive to Orlando to participate in the Kick-off event.  This is an early opportunity to see the actual competition field, ask questions about the game rules, and attend FTC workshops.  In the coming weeks, Michael Coleman will be sending out an update email with details about the agenda, start time, and workshops for the September 7, 2013 FTC Kick-off Event.
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2.       League Fee – Please Register Your Teams  – Last year we charged a $250 league fee that allowed all teams in our league to attend the league tournaments.  The league fee was used to purchase the tournament equipment, field, field elements, lunches for volunteers at the tournaments, facility fees, and awards.  The most expensive component of our 2012-13 budget was purchasing all of the equipment and field components needed to run a tournament. Therefore, I am expecting our budget this year to be much lower and hopefully the league fee for each team will be much lower.  However, it will also depend on the number of teams in our league.  Therefore, if you believe you will have an FTC team again this season, please register your team but do not pay the registration fee yet.  We are hoping to get some additional funding for teams in Florida from Rockwell Collins.

Another important fee change I am thinking about implementing this year is to charge a different fee for returning teams versus new teams.  Given that all of you paid a high fee last year to help fund the initial league equipment purchase, I think it is only fair that some of the new teams should absorb some of the cost of that initial investment.
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3.       Rookie Team Funding from Rockwell Collins  – Rockwell Collins is again a major corporate sponsor of the FTC robotics program.  You might have seen a recent announcement on the FIRST website that Rockwell Collins is providing $500 to every rookie team in the US.  Therefore, the registration fee for any rookie team that is registered in the FTC TIMS online system will automatically be paid by Rockwell Collins.  I am not sure what the total amount of funding will be and therefore I encourage anyone thinking about starting a new team to register as soon as possible.  I believe the remaining $225 in funding is applied to the purchase of the competition kit.
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4.       New Motors Coming from Pitsco/Tetrix  – We have been told that Pitsco/Tetrix has designed a new motor that has higher torque and is less likely to burnout.  Therefore, I strongly encourage teams to delay purchasing any new motors until this new motor becomes available on the Lego/Tetrix parts website.  There is also a new wheel available on the Tetrix website.  I have purchased two of the wheels and will have them at the FTC kick-off so that teams can see what they look like.
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5.       Shorter FTC Season Due to Super Regional  – Most of you have probably seen the FIRST announcement about another new tournament level for FTC.  Instead of qualifying from the state championship to the Worlds, state championships teams will qualifying to participate in a Super Regional.  Florida is in the South Region and the Super Regional tournament will be held in San Antonio, TX on February 26-28, 2014.  Therefore, the Florida State Championship will likely have to be on February 1, 2014 and our League Championship will have to be on January 11, 2014.  This means our season will be three weeks shorter and we will need to decide if we want to do three league tournament as we did last year.

ROBOT League Chair
Hans K. Wolf

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