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Limitations on conflicting judges (SBPLI FLL Championship )

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  • Limitations on conflicting judges (SBPLI FLL Championship )

    In the recent SBPLI FLL Championship Into Orbit Competition, I was notified an insider notes that one of the competing team (for-profit FLL-coaching businesses) send 5 of their coaches and parents as volunteer judges, almost covering half of core value judges rooms and some of the robotic judge rooms. Not sure is it possible in FLL?My understanding is that the volunteer judges shall be filtered not having teams participating in the event (no conflicts). To me, it is a double agents in business practice WITHOUT any consents of the other teams. May anyone clarify with this? Thank you.

  • #2
    In my region (Minnesota), judges see a group of from 10 to 16 teams at a tournament. The judges are asked before the tournament if they have any strong affiliation with any of the teams at the tournament. If they are affiliated with a team in their judging group, they switch to another judging group that has different teams. In our region, I believe it is rare for coaches and parents to act as judges at a tournament where their team is competing.

    Having said that, the FLL community is relatively small, so it is not uncommon for judges to encounter kids on teams they may have mentored, or know from some other circumstance. Moreover, many tournaments have a difficult time recruiting sufficient volunteers for judging.

    If you are concerned about how the judges were selected at your last tournament, I suggest contacting someone from your regional FLL partner and asking what their policy is regarding judges. I truly believe that most FLL judges do their best to be impartial, and are not acting as "double agents".

    Last edited by timdavid; 03-07-2019, 11:50 AM.


    • #3
      I judged one of my teams once. I forgot what tournament they were attending and I didn't recognize the team name. It was quite a shock when they walked into my judging room. I would love to claim that mentors don't have to know things like team names or tournament dates, but the only thing stopping me from doing this with teams I coach is our FLL affiliate keeping track of what teams I coach and not asking me to judge on days my team competes. Judging a team you know really well is very awkward. There is nothing for me to learn, so any question I ask is fake. The team knows I know everything about their robot and solution because we practice design judging all the time. Luckily we do judging in pairs and I had my judging partner conduct the interview. Many times I've judged teams that I used to mentor, or had team members that I used to mentor. That worked out much better because I didn't know the robot or the solutions ahead of time. If I couldn't judge a team with which I had an affiliation I probably couldn't judge at all. It's not like I mentor a ton of teams, but I mentor different teams each year, so the numbers build up, and now some of the kids I worked with back in the early days are coaches and mentors. And I know several others who are far more intertwined than I.
      Last edited by Dean Hystad; 03-08-2019, 07:02 PM.