FIRST Tech Challenge 2015-2016 season plan

(reprinted with permission)

From: Dr. Carter Tiernan
Subject: FIRST Tech Challenge 2015-2016 season plan
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:00:23 CDT

Dear coaches,

I hope your school year is starting off very well.  This message will give you an overview of the plan for the FIRST Tech Challenge season in North Texas including the structure, a few dates, and some future year plans as well.

As most of you know, US FIRST is moving the FTC competition structure from the previous format of qualifier competitions only to a format of league play.  We had hoped to start large-scale implementation of leagues this season.  However, there is a state-level effort in Texas that is expected to have a big impact on teams and participation in FTC starting this year and this effort has changed our planning regarding league implementation.

Therefore, for the 2015-2016 FTC season we in North Texas we will be using a blended format of both qualifiers and leagues.  As the default, we will be continuing to implement FTC with first level qualifier tournaments that will have space for all teams to compete in.  The Southwest Regional Championship at UT Arlington is scheduled for February 20, 2016.  The qualifier tournaments are expected to be held in December and January.  Dates and details will be given as they become available.  Teams that compete in qualifiers will advance from a qualifier tournament to the Southwest Regional Championship.

While the bulk of the teams this season will participate in FTC through qualifiers as in the past, we would like to pilot the league model if possible. Therefore, if you and your team(s) would like to be part of a league this year, please let me know by Sept. 1st. I will work with the interested teams to try to pull together a feasible set of leagues.  If we are able to create some leagues this season, then these leagues will use the league meet format with a league tournament .  Teams will advance from a league tournament to the Southwest Regional Championship.  If you haven’t looked at the League Meet Guide from US FIRST, take a look at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/volunteer-resources under the Event Coordinator category.

Teams must choose to compete in either the qualifier format or the league format this season.  No team may compete in both formats in the same season.  Within the league format, the Texas FTC regions have decided that for schools with multiple teams, no more than 3 teams may compete in the same league together.  For the 2015-2016 this may lead to some schools with a subset of teams in leagues and other teams participating in the qualifier system, or teams split among two or more leagues.

The season structure plan for North Texas is to complete this season with the Southwest Regional Championship, run any other Texas events as needed for the state-level effort later in the spring of 2016, and then implement the full league structure for 2016-2017 in our region.   I know that this information is later than we would like but the state-level activities starting this year will have a lot of impact on our program so we want to take them into account as much as possible.  The formal announcement of about this state-level effort and FTC has not been made yet which is why my information is vague at this point.  Once a formal announcement is made, then the impact of these efforts will start to be seen.

Thank you for all you do for students.  If you haven’t registered your teams yet, please register at least one so that I get you on the official FTC coach list for this season.  I will be transitioning to that list for communications after the Kickoff events.  Again, please send me an e-mail if you’d like to have your team(s) participate in an FTC league this year.  We’d love to have some of those in operation to give us all some practice for next year.  Thank you!!

Carter Tiernan

Dr. Carter Tiernan
Affiliate Partner, FIRST Tech Challenge, North Texas Region
Assistant Dean, College of Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

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