I was the head ref at a tournament this past Saturday. During the event, we had a robot legally deploy their endgame string during the last 10 seconds of a skills run. When the string was shot, one of the rubberband/weight attachments became detached from the end of the string and exited the field (hitting the floor outside the perimeter). Everything that was still attached to the robot fell legally within the field perimeter (including the other 5 rubberband/weight attachments still connected to the other strings). The detachment was accidental, did not hit anyone, and did not happen during any other deployment during the tournament.
We cited <S2> (if a robot comes in contact with anything outside the field during the endgame period, it will automatically receive a DQ for the match) and ruled the skills run a "DQ" and awarded zero points for the run. A coach (not even related to the team in violation) later asked if this case should be treated differently since the robot did not come in contact with anything outside the field (because everything attached to it was legally within the perimeter). That coach compared it to the fact that we don't consider loose chain that pops off before endgame an early expansion violation (as long as it isn't attached to the robot and violating the 18" rule).
If the deploy was strategic and routinely shot objects out of the field, I feel we'd have a clean cut answer. Since this was a "once-off," I'm second guessing our decision. I'd like to know if you think we could have let the score stand and should have issued a warning, rather than a DQ/Zero Score.
Thanks for all your hard work!