I don't want to start a whole argument (I say, as I respond in opposition to a response to my response...), but what reason is there to not let the guy walk in. There are some events that you just can't leave early, or some other unforeseen situation may have arisen.
I would like to see an ES's thoughts on this matter.
If I count as an ES (which, I guess I do seeing as I've run events at regionals and state), I'd let them in late (and have done so in the past). As mentioned, there's no reason to not let someone in, and the lost time is quite a sufficient penalty, especially for a station event where it means they get zero points on the stations they missed.
I agree 100%, Unome. I have never understood the reason for even a time limit (i.e. - no later than 10 mins) since buildings and room are often difficult to locate, like at the Cornell Invitational. Buses break down, kids break down, etc... Maybe for Nationals ok, but even then. If another ES could give me a good reason, I am very willing to have my mind changed - especially since we do make then late for regular school classes.
I have served as both an ES and a tournament executive at different tournaments in the time that I've been in college, and I would argue that missing events due to distance between event rooms is something that can and can't be controlled at the same time. I guess when you're in your phase as a competitor, you can always think, "OK, when I graduate, this is how I would fix the problems I encountered as a competitor" but in reality, it's actually really difficult on the tournament executive board's part to address every possible problem that gets brought up. As much as competitors nitpick at tournaments for not-so-ideal room choices (i.e. having Forensics in a lab that has no gas outlets and thus, no bunsen burners for flame tests) or distances between the rooms, that's not necessarily even in the tournament executive(s)'s control. College campuses always have unique layouts of their buildings on the campus, and every college also has a unique policy for using their facilities. Some require making reservations a certain amount of time in advance, others require special permissions for certain rooms, others have restrictions, etc. While tournament directors try to get optimal rooms for each event, it's hard to shoot for the most optimal rooms with the most optimal distances between them, and at times, it can become even more difficult if rooms are supposedly unavailable for use for that tournament weekend for any rhyme or reason. So, in that case, it could come down to choosing between two main factors: whether the room's location is convenient to access, or whether the room has the optimal kind of setup/equipment for that event. I have a couple examples from my personal experience:
1. MIT Invitational Forensics - finding rooms for lab events, especially Forensics (since the lab portion is a non-negotiable part of the event in order for it to be run well), is always tricky, since you need a pretty nicely sized lab to house everyone, among hoping it's one that will have gas for bunsen burners AND that the faculty will let you use the lab. I ran this event at this tournament this past January, and half of my test writing process was actually hoping and praying that the MIT faculty would let us use the kind of lab we were looking for in the first place - I literally almost had to run this event entirely without any of the lab because it was getting quite down to the wire on that. It isn't ideal at all that the room for Forensics at MIT is always tricky to find (the year before, you had to take the campus bus to get to it, and this year, the building had lots of construction around it and getting into it was very hard to do, let alone making your way up to its 6th floor where the room was), but at least it has a majority of the amenities you'd want in order to compete in it (i.e. gas). I can tell you that lots of teams got lost on their way to the room and I did let several competitors in late due to this. The lesson from this is that either ease of access to the event room or the optimal room setup for lab has to be sacrificed, and in this case, ease of access was sacrificed in order to have a better equipped room.
2. Purdue Regionals this year - we found out a few weeks before the tournament that the ROTC armory (which is a massive room with a really high ceiling that we've always used for flight events at our tournament) enacted a new policy that no one under the age of 18 could even be present in the facility, which really threw a wrench in our plans, and we had to instead rent out some gyms at the Sports and Recreational Center (which is about a quarter to a half a mile away from the rest of the events and homerooms) because that was our next best option in terms of the amount of open space for the devices to fly in and in terms of the short notice. We very well could have looked for a place closer to everything else with a high ceiling, but again, do you sacrifice how convenient the location is for optimal room conditions or the other way around? We chose to go for the more optimal room conditions and in turn, give up location convenience.
3. Every Indiana State Tournament ever lol - IU's campus is freakin' massive (either that or it's the same size as Purdue yet more spread out), but the officials there actually do a decent job of trying to center most of its events in a more consolidated part of campus so the event rooms and homerooms aren't spread out THAT far. But the elephant in the room every year at this tournament: MELLENCAMP PAVILION. It is a massive stadium, and it's by far the ideal place for the flight events. But it is LITERAL MILE AWAY from the rest of the events and the homerooms. No other room near the rest of the events has that high of a ceiling with no obstructions besides it tho. If I remember correctly, additionally, the campus transportation isn't open on tournament weekend either since it's on IU's spring break. The solution is to either not schedule yourself for anything within an hour before or after a flight event and walk all the way there, or you cross your fingers you can arrange some kind of team transportation (whether kind volunteer parents driving you there in a car or your bus driver getting you there). Again, optimal room conditions take priority over convenience of the location.
Point is, getting rooms really isn't always that easy. The tournament directors try their best, and if there are some things they can't get, then they just have to go for another plan that may not be as ideal but will still work. We make do with what we've got, and I guess we have a general expectation that we hope that the competitors attending can also do the same. Most of us ES's will cut you some slack if we know that the events are far apart, now maybe cut us tournament volunteers and executives some slack if we aren't able to achieve the optimal conditions due to circumstances that are out of our control.
But again, just like Unome, I still do let late competitors in, as like he said, the time lost due to being late is enough of a penalty since you may not be able to complete as much of the test due to the time loss, which does punish you enough. But some ES's may be stricter than others, and may not have as much mercy if you're late.