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National Drill Championships

SOP Updates Page

Below are the event rule updates/modifications that have been made to date.

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1) 10 September, 2022:
SOP Updates site established, Official Event Invite, SOP, score sheets posted
SOP Updates site established, Official Event Invite, SOP, score sheets posted The SOP Update site is established and ready for modifications/clarifications/changes to be posted here. Event scoresheets and the SOP are posted. Floor diagrams and many other documents will be added in the coming months. Please check back often to be most prepared for this event.

#2 - 27 September 2022:
A 30" Step is Problematic - BUT We Do Want a "FULL STEP"
The military manuals are written for grown men. All establish a 30" step. AF JROTC realized this and went to a 24" step. We will be entrusting the judges to look for cadets to take a "FULL STEP" from cadets where a 30" step is required. Teams should closely review their use of a full step as those who deviate from this will be marked down by the judges. Judges have been using this method for years knowing 30" steps were impossible for many smaller people especially from the halt - this rule simply makes it obvious what was happening all along.

#3 - 27 September 2022:
Color Guard Organizational Color MISTAKE in the original SOP
Several schools used POW/MIA Flag and other non-standard organizational color choices in the past. To limit this, the direct we received originally was invalid. This has been corrected. IN 2023 and beyond, SNI will require all schools utilize their: STATE FLAG or SCHOOL JROTC FLAG. Any of these choices are fine. Additionally no direction from the meet will be given to schools on their choice of pole-ending finial. Those services where the manual is very specific on what shape and type finial is to be used, judges will likely expect the manual to be followed. Consciously or unconsciously, this is something we know judges look for.

#4 - 27 September 2022:
Largely Cosmetic Changes to the Armed & Unarmed Reg Score Sheet
Title on Judge ONE was changed to reflect Platoon/Flight Sequence and the Close & Extend March Command (done by the Marines was worded with Close Interval March & Normal Interval March to be in the non-Marine Verbiage. Forward March (if your service requires it) is listed as well.

#5 - 27 October 2022:
Minor Correction to the Armed Reg Score Sheet
Because in Command #41 we have placed cadets at "RIGHT SHOULDER ARMS", in Command 44a) will keep the BOLDED, PAUSED, unscored command "PLATOON HALT". After the required 5 second pause, the next command will be "Order Arms" (without any pause to then give command #45 so the cadets may properly execute the facing movement coming soon after). Most teams would have done thia without further instruction BUT for uniformity, this has been implemented on the sheet.

#6 - 1 March 2023:
Utilization of non-standard drill gear - gaining permission for same
SNI attempts in many cases to do something very difficult - provide a safe and exciting drill competition that maintains a balance allowing judges to fairly and impartially evaluate drill within a set of rules that provide a somewhat even playing field between teams. This is not a measurable concept and it requires much judgment and educated guesswork. Reviewing scoresheets and final finishes by gender, time of day competing, age and experience of the judge, speaking with other meet organizers and service heads, comparing scores and event aspects for bias, regional bias and other issues to attempt to formulate a complete set of rules and standards that give all schools the most even shake possible within a completely uneven drill world. Generally, we believe looking at the teams that have done well at the event, we believe that we have done that in most all regards. New items and concepts come forward and hard decisions have to be made. We learn from these and always keep an very open mind going forward.

SNI is very adamant about all schools looking for a ruling on items NOT clarified within the SOP to contact SNI well in advance. Advances and innovations in rifles and other gear, uniforms, footwear, performance aids and of course the thousands of clarifications to existing rules (i.e., can we pull out a flag or play a bugle in exhibition drill? Can we coin a judge for report out? Can we put lights on our rifles? Can every cadet bring in TWO rifles for armed exhibition? etc etc etc. When you call, make sure you fully and completely detail what you are trying to do. Even better, send an email because that reply email is your permission slip or rejection letter as it were. Remember, as a service specific event, we bounce most of these ideas up to get a ruling from the HQ.

An item we were approached with in later January was a velcro sling primarily for color guard. This I could not make a call on as I could see pluses and minuses and did not have enough information and really wanted input. The sling manufacturer kindly sent me a sample and I was HIGHLY impressed. He also told me about the sling, how long it had been "public", etc. I can actually see JROTC service heads moving forward in the coming years to use these as they seem far more durable and far less expensive to use within JROTC drill (no brass getting scratched up, etc.). I approached several people who I consider EXPERTS in color guard and many had never heard of this item. We also approached EACH of the four service heads wanting to at least make sure they knew these were on the horizon. Also needed to get their feedback on their use for their own service championships in just a few weeks in several cases.

Bottom line, The AF JROTC weighed aspects of the sling, considered many factors and gained much input. In the end, the velcro sling was REJECTED as a non-standard piece of equipment not commonly known about in the greater drill community as of yet. Using this sling without question gives the user a large advantage within the movements sling and unsling arms versus a traditional and provided brass adjusting sling. Because of these factors, it was decided teams may NOT utilize this for competition drill at the 2023 Nationals.

Again, two items to take away from this: 1) If you plan to utilize a piece of non-standard gear in competition drill, check with the meet director in advance to ensure they will allow it (note: much like putting LED lights on a rifle, etc. Just because something is NOT referenced in the rules directly does not mean it is allowed, it simply means it is not addressed as of yet. And you do NOT want that to be addressed just before use on-site! 2) Know that every rule is reviewed annually. As this sling becomes more widely distributed and its user base becomes more diverse, it is entirely possible like ANY rule it may change in the future.

#7 - 27 April 2023:
In the last few weeks we at SNI suddenly were being asked about LET 1 Curriculum and changes to the material. We ASSUMED that these materials were listed in the SOP as the materials used for Inspection. We should have checked. Below is the EXACT COPY PASTE from the Army Nationals SOP. This will be the areas focused on during the Unit Inspection, both ARMED and UNARMED at the upcoming competition. This inspection cannot TRULY be memorized and is designed to find the most well-rounded, citizenship-laden, knowledgeable cadets:

From Section 6 - Inspection
2. Inspection at the upcoming event will have a different tenor than past years. While still designed to be an intense experience, the judges will be briefed, trained and monitored to ensure a different standard is displayed. Inspection questions will ONLY come from FIVE primary areas. These will be military, governmental, historical, current events and first aid. These broad topics will have questions formulated well in advance and will be broken down into easy, medium and hard questions. These questions will NOT be given to the teams in advance. There will be HUNDREDS of questions available to the judges for use and therefore they will likely not be many repeated throughout the day. Judges will also be encouraged to ask cadets thought provoking questions involving moral issues, likely ending with,“and WHY” where the cadet will be expected to explain their logic, reasoning or answer in detail to the judge.

#8 - 27 April 2023:
" No need to check back as what you see above is the final SOP updates for the event. Emergencies would be handled via email or phone, lesser items would be handled on arrival. Good luck and safe travels to all!

Thank you, good luck and safe travel to all attendees!

Justin Gates, Competition Director

Sports Network International

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