What do you have a question about?
What is FIRST?
FIRST is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen. It is an acronym that stands For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology. Their headquarters are located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Their official website is firstinspires.org.
What is FIRST in Texas?
FIRST in Texas is a non-profit organization founded in 2010; based out of San Antonio, Texas. We are the official FIRST Partner Organization for all FIRST programming in the State of Texas. In addition to helping teams get grants and funding-- FIRST in Texas officiates, facilitates and organizes all of the competitions and events throughout the state. Our official website is firstintexas.org.
Are FIRST and FIRST in Texas the same entity?
No. FIRST and FIRST in Texas are separate non-profit organizations. FIRST contracts FIRST in Texas as a FIRST Delivery Organization to facilitate FIRST programs in the State of Texas.
What is FIRST Tech Challenge?
FIRST Tech Challenge ("FTC") is a robotics competition geared for students in grades 7 - 12. Throughout the season, students build, program, document and compete with robots in an alliance format in a challenge that changes every September. Team sizes range from 2 - 15 members.
What is UIL?
UIL stands for University Interscholastic League, and is a non-profit organization founded in 1910 by the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. UIL provides guidance and creates policy for athletic sports and musical/academic competitions for its member public & charter schools in the State of Texas. UIL also provides guidance for robotics competitions such as FIRST.
What is UIL Robotics?
Every FIRST Tech Challenge qualifying event (Meet, Tournament, Qualifier, Championship, etc.) in the State of Texas is considered to be an official UIL Robotics event. Even though these competitions are called "UIL events"-- teams not apart of UIL-member schools do, can and should compete at these events too. For more information about UIL Robotics, see uiltexas.org.
What is FIRST ENERGIZE, presented by Qualcomm?
FIRST ENERGIZE is the name of the 2022-2023 season. Energy is the overarching theme for all the five different FIRST programs: FLL Discover, FLL Explore, FLL Challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Robotics Competition. For more information, visit firstinspires.org.
What is POWERPLAY, presented by Raytheon Technologies?
POWERPLAY is the name of the 2022-2023 FIRST Tech Challenge game. The specific rules and details of the game will be revealed on September 10th, 2022, 11:00am CST at a Kickoff.
Where and when is the North Texas kickoff?
Saturday, September 10th, 2022 @
Kickoff East - Marcus High School, Flower Mound, TX (LISD) - 9:30am - 1:00pm.
Kickoff West - Daniel Freshman Center, Aledo HS, TX (AISD) - 9:30am - 1:00pm.
Agenda: Season Information, Game Reveal at 11am CST, Field Preview and Game Rules Review.
Team Forming Questions
Does my team need to be affiliated with a UIL school to play in Texas?
No. There are many FIRST Tech Challenge teams that are considered "community-teams"; wherein students are affiliated with either a religious organization or homeschool group, and/or students come together to form a team even though they attend from different schools. There are also many FIRST Tech Challenge teams based out of schools unaffiliated with UIL.
How do I start a team?
Register an account with firstinspires.org, pass Youth Protection Program screening, and then create a new team in your account dashboard. There is a $295 registration fee payable to FIRST per team. When you register a new team, you can also purchase a subsidized competition erector set and the required electronic/control kits for the robot.
What are the minimum fees for registering a team for the 2022-2023 POWERPLAY season?
$295 National Registration Fee (to FIRST)
$250 League Registration Fee (to FIRST in Texas) - includes 3 Meets + 1 Tournament.
How do I pay the League Registration Fee with FIRST in Texas?
When are fees due?
A team must pay their FIRST National Registration by their first competition event, i.e. a scrimmage or their first League Meet. A team that doesn't pay their national registration fee doesn't have a legal team number, and thus cannot be entered into any competition scoring system.
A team must pay their FIRST in Texas League Registration fee by their 2nd meet, or risk not being eligible to play in the Parent Tournament.
What are the event fees if we happen to advance to a higher level?
$175 - Semi-Regional Qualifier
$250 - North Texas Regional Championship
TBD - Texas State Championship (approx. $500+)
TBD - World Championship (approx. $2000+)
What are the equipment costs for starting a team?
$265 - Control & Communication Kit
$282 - Electronics Kit
$580 - Competitional Erector Set
These are the subsidized prices if you purchase through the FIRST account dashboard.
If you purchase directly from the vendors, the prices will be higher.
What if the supply chain delays prevent my team from competing this season?
If the supply chain delay or worldwide chip shortage prevents your team from competing this season, then FIRST agrees to transfer your national registration fee for the 2023-2024 season. However, REV Robotics (who manufacture the electronic/control kits for the robots) intends on expediting the shipping of essential parts to rookie teams by mid-October.
How many Qualifiers are available in North Texas?
In previous seasons, Qualifiers were primarily the events wherein teams advanced to the next level. As of the POWERPLAY season (2022-2023), North Texas will introduce a League Bracket for advancement for the overwhelming majority of North Texas teams.
However, there will be the following Qualifier offered at the very end of the season:
R-Qualifier (Remote Qualifier) in early February after the Tournaments.
Last Call Qualifier (Traditional Qualifier) in mid-February for teams that signed up for the season late and missed league sign-up.
Why is North Texas not offering primarily Qualifiers anymore?
Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST, intended for our programs to be "the sport where every kid can turn pro." There are no sports that have just one competition per year. With the previous qualifier model, the majority of teams in North Texas were given but only one competition to compete at for the entire season. With a League Bracket, teams will be guaranteed to play at least four times during the season.
Moreover, the Board of Directors and Executive Director of FIRST in Texas is encouraging uniformity across the State of Texas in terms of gameplay and team experience. For the past seven seasons, the other four regions in the State of Texas were operating with a League Bracket-- North Texas was the sole outlier. We were strongly encouraged to transition to a League Bracket.
What is a League?
A League, also known as a Child League, is a group of 8 to 18 teams that compete with each other exclusively at the beginning of the season. The League teams will come together to compete at three different occasions called League Meets.
What is a League Meet?
A League Meet is a half-day competition event (8am - 1pm). At each meet, League teams must first pass robot/field inspection per Game Manual Part 1, Section 8.0, by a certain deadline. Teams' robots that successfully pass inspection will compete in at least 5 matches. After competing in their final match, the team members clean up their pit and go home. There is no judging or team presentations at a League Meet.
When is the 1st League Meet?
When is the 3rd League Meet?
What happens after the three League Meets?
Two or more Child Leagues merge together to compete at a League Tournament, also known as a Parent Tournament. All teams in the Children Leagues are invited and encouraged to play at the Parent Tournament.
Parent League Tournament Questions
What is a League Tournament?
A League Tournament, also known as a Parent Tournament, is nearly identical to a Qualifier. League Tournaments include robot/field inspection, judging presentations, pit interviews, qualification matches, alliance selection, elimination matches and an award ceremony. At the conclusion of the award ceremony, advancements are announced.
How is a League Tournament different from a Qualifier?
Only teams that are officially a part of the Children Leagues are allowed to play at the League Tournament. No outside teams will be invited.
The final ranking of a team before alliance selection depends not only on the robot performance in qualification matches at the Tournament, but also the robot's top ten highest scoring matches from the League Meets. In other words, the final ranking at a League Tournament reflects the robotic performance throughout the season up to that point.
How does a team advance from a League Tournament?
Advancement is determined by the criteria and methodology as set in Game Manual, Part 1, Section 6.0. As a general rule of thumb, about half of advancements are based on judged awards and the rest are based on robot performance at the League Tournament.
How many teams advance from a League Tournament?
Each North Texas League Tournament guarantees direct advancement for four teams to the North Texas Regional Championship. This guarantees a spot for the Inspire Award 1st and 2nd place winners, and the Winning Alliance Captain and their 1st pick.
Moreover, each North Texas League Tournament will advance eleven to sixteen teams to one of the North Texas Semi-Regionals. Teams that don't advance from the League Tournament will be put on a waitlist for the Semi-Regional-- but their season has likely come to a conclusion in North Texas.
How many Leagues and Tournaments can my team join and participate in?
As per FIRST, a team is only allowed to participate in one League per season. Thus a team can only play at a single League Tournament.
If a team finds an opportunity to play at a Qualifier, Regional or State Championship outside of Texas-- they may do so in joint coordination with the Program Delivery Partner of destination region and the North Texas FTC Program Coordinator Lon Cherryholmes.
What is a Semi-Regional?
At a Semi-Regional, teams have one final chance to advance to Regional Championship by either award or robot performance. All rankings are reset for teams that come to the Semi-Regional. The even format is identical to a Qualifier, but is considered to be a higher level of game play.
Where and when are the Semi-Regionals?
Semi-Regional NORTH - "Mech Madness" - Hedrick MS, 02/11/2023
Semi-Regional SOUTH - "Viking Voyage" - Lamar HS, 02/18/2023
How many teams advance from the Semi-Regional to the NTX Regional Championship?
Each North Texas Semi-Regional guarantees direct advancement for six teams to the North Texas Regional Championship. This guarantees a spot for all Inspire Award winners and the entire winning alliance. Teams that don't advance from the Semi-Regional will be put on a waitlist for the NTX Regional Championship -- but their season has likely come to a conclusion in North Texas.
NTX Regional Championship Questions
Where and when is the North Texas Regional Championship for FTC?
February 25th, 2023 @Marcus High School, Flower Mound, TX (LISD), 8am - 8pm
How big is the 2023 POWERPLAY NTX FTC Championship?
As it stands today, the Regional Championship will be a three-field, single-division championship with no more than 40 teams participating.
It might be decided later in the Fall if the championship will grow to a four-field, dual-division event with 48 teams participating.
How many practice fields are available at the NTX Regional Championship?
In North Texas, we ask teams to sponsor practice fields. This means that teams loan their field and field elements-- allowing all teams at the event to play on them. The team itself sets up the field the night before the event. In return, they get a sign displaying their sponsorship and time to setup their pit.
At our 2022 FREIGHT FRENZY NTX FTC Regional Championship, there were six practice fields sponsored by the following organizations:
6832 | Iron Reign | Townview SEM | Dallas ISD
7172 | Technical Difficulties | Plano, TX
8565 | TechnicBots | FLYSET | Plano, TX
13783 | Thunderchicks | Irma Rangel School for Girls| Dallas ISD
19564 | Marvels of MAS | Itkan Institute of Technology | Richardson, TX
20039/20040 | 1-Byte-@-Time | Work in Progress | New Tech High @Coppell
Beyond North Texas Questions
What comes after the NTX Regional Championship?
Teams advance to the FIRST in Texas, FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship in Belton, Texas (March 25th - 26th, 2023) where they will compete against the four other regions in the State of Texas. There are 18 teams that will advance to this level from North Texas.
From our NTX Regional Championship, the Inspire Award winning team will advance directly to the FIRST World Championship, sponsored by BAE Systems in Houston, Texas. However, said team will also be invited to play at the Texas State Championship in Belton, Texas.
What is the UIL State Championship?
The Texas UIL State Championship is an off-season event (sometimes listed as a "scrimmage" in the ftc-scoring system) that occurs on Friday, March 24th, 2023 at the same exact venue as the FIRST in Texas, FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship in Belton, TX. This event is only for UIL-affiliated schools, and there are three separate divisions:
Division 1A - 4A | 24 Teams
Division 5A | 24 Teams
Division 6A | 24 Teams
How does a team advance to the UIL State Championship?
We do not advance teams to the UIL State Championship. Rather, we advance UIL schools based upon the robot and award-winning performance of their best team. If a school advances to the UIL State Championship, the school may opt to pick any team number associated with the school, any robot associated with the school, and bring any school members to represent the team at the UIL State Championship.
For instance, imagine there is a UIL School X has three teams: "Team 1", "Team 2" and "Team 3". Say that "Team 2" competed at the Regional Championship for whatever reason, and they won the Think Award which merited "Team 2" an advancement to the the FTC State Championship. However, "Team 2" winning this award ended up solidifying School X's advancement to the UIL State Championship. At this point, School X could take "Team 1" or "Team 3" to the UIL State Championship instead of "Team 2", if they choose to do so-- using any robot from the school, and any school member from the school.
We know it's a little weird. If you need further explanation, please ask Lon Cherryholmes at email@example.com.
For updated/official information, please refer to the FIRST in Texas website. The graphics below show the current advancement numbers as of February 27th, 2023 for the entire state of Texas.