Preference System for Event Registration


Last year, as folks know, we had problems with our event registration system. At the time, we said we would be moving away from first-come-first-served to a preference-based event registration system for the 2018 season.

The purpose of this blog is to confirm that we are moving to a preference-based system and to give you a high-level overview. You will likely have many detailed questions that won’t be answered here. More information will be coming out over the next few weeks. Feel free, though, to ask questions in the comments section below, and I’ll work to answer them later.

The preference-based system is intended to make event slot distribution fairer and more convenient and to reduce the load on our systems.

Under the new system, all FIRST Robotics Competition teams will have one week to enter their ranked event preferences in the system. They will be able to enter and rank as many or as few eligible events as they like. There will be no advantage or disadvantage to entering preferences early or late, as long as preferences are in by the deadline. Also, teams will be able to change their preferences as often as they like before the deadline.

All FRC teams will be randomly assigned a lottery number. Teams will keep this lottery number throughout the event selection process for the season. After the preference deadline, the system will go through each team in lottery number sequence, assigning the team to the first event with available capacity in the order of the team’s event preference list. If none of the events on a team’s list has open capacity, the team will be waitlisted on the single event they have identified as being their preferred ‘waitlist’ event (or the first event on their list if they do not specifically designate a waitlist event). So, every team that has entered a preference list for this first round will either be placed in an event or waitlisted for an event.

Teams will then be notified of their first round results. A week or two later, another one-week window will open for teams to use in selecting their second event preferences. Again, they can enter as many or as few eligible events on this list they wish, along with selecting a single event on the list as their waitlist preference. They will also once more be able to make any changes they wish before the deadline. After this second preferences deadline, the system will once again assign events, but this time going in reverse lottery number sequence, from the largest lottery number to the smallest. This means teams who were at the bottom of the list for the first round are at the top of the list for the second. Teams are then notified of the results of this second round. Once more, every team that has entered a preference list for this second round will either be placed in an event or waitlisted for an event.

The third period of registration will be ‘open’ registration for events, following similar rules as have been used in the past.

For now, the preliminary schedule looks like this:

September 21, 2017 – September 28, 2017 – Team enter their first round of event preferences in the system
September 29, 2017 – Teams are notified of the first round event preferences results
October 12, 2017 – October 19, 2017 – Team enter their second round of event preferences in the system
October 20, 2017 – Teams are notified of the second round event preferences results
November 2, 2017 – Unrestricted event registration opens

Please note that right now these dates are preliminary. We don’t expect them to change, but circumstances may lead them to. If these dates do change, we will be sure to notify the community as soon as the new dates are determined.

As I noted above, this is just a high-level overview of the process. We will provide more detailed information in the coming weeks.


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