[How would you expand that to 10 or 11?
Two identical tracks could be used.
Going back my feelings are that Centerville didn't do anything wrong. My heart goes out to Mentor (I know many people involved in their program) but Centerville just had a better day. Once the judgement and appeal set the penalty I think it is unfair to go back and think about how could you change the penalty to not let Centerville go.
Interestingly enough in PA we are seeing what I think I will call the "Ohio effect". Because of what happened in OH we were informed yesterday that at the upcoming PA state competition that:
Don’t get penalized! In the State interpretation of the general rules of fair play, any team found on the Juniata campus testing a built device before 9:00AM April 23rd will be assessed a 10% deduction/increase in their score for the event.
While I don't feel that Centerville did anything wrong I understand how some people could view it that way. If those people in charge had made an annoucement before that it was not allowed, as they did with other events, that is fine and I am sure the rule would have been followed.
But what is the point of rules like this for all building events? If it is trying to make things fair and even for teams I am fine with it; ban those individual events from practicing. Unfortunately I don't understand how a team, prior to a course being set up, gets any "unfair" advantage over a team by shooting air trajector or running their IAT clock or Robot Arm. One thing I have always loved about SO since I started in middle school (25 years ago) was being able to walk around in the morning and see all of the cool ideas that people have come up with to win. You always see exited/stressed kids testing/calibrating/fixing their devices before the first time block. This decision is going to force this to stop. Teams should be afraid to take their clock off the bus at 7AM prior to impound and just run a quick test to ensure it traveled okay. Hopefully a wire did not come lose on Robot Arm. Imagine if band got off a bus for a concert and were not allowed to tune before performing. That is what this rule is setting up.
And worse yet now your competitors walking around in the morning are going to look more like people just trying to catch you touching your device. If they can get a picture of you with your device you better watch out, a penalty is coming your way. Is that in the spirit of SO? I know they are your competitors but I have always looked on students from other schools with respect and now as a coach they are the people I hope to inspire to pursue STEM careers or at least have a great appreciation for those who do. This change just seems wrong to me.
Finally this particular penalty is also not fair as it is more harmful in some events compared to others. A 10% hit in score for a good team in Air Trajectory is crushing (score of 6000pts turned into 5400) but that same penalty in EV might be worth the risk if you had a fast vehicle and wanted to tune it to that exact flooring (25 points becoming 27.5). And why is Air Trajectory going to be hit more with a penalty for this then EV especailly considering how little Air Trajectory would gain if the course is not set up.