Fri. Dec 8th, 2023
    The Rise of Robotic Football: Universities Showcase Innovation at CRFC Fall Combine

    The Collegiate Robotic Football Conference (CRFC) made waves in the world of robotics last Saturday as it hosted its highly anticipated fall combine at Notre Dame. The event drew teams from several Midwestern universities, including Valpraiso University, Trine University, Calvin University, Ohio Northern University, and the hosting institution itself.

    Robotic football, an annual tournament organized by the CRFC, brings together collegiate teams who design and remotely control their individual robots to compete in football matches. The sport closely mirrors traditional football, with position-specific bots, offensive and defensive strategies, and a comprehensive rulebook governing gameplay and design constraints.

    This year’s fall combine served as an exciting opportunity for teams to showcase their robots’ speed, agility, quarterback accuracy, and other key attributes. The Notre Dame robotic football club’s president, Maria Schudt, expressed immense pride in her team’s performance, particularly highlighting the exceptional showing of their new quarterback bot.

    Schudt’s enthusiasm was echoed by Nathan Helgledorn, secretary of the Ohio Northern team, who emphasized the remarkable improvements their team had made in preparation since joining the club. Helgledorn credited their increased performance to enhanced driver training and knowledge of the bots’ operating mechanisms.

    Timothy Zeemond, president of the Valparaiso team, attributed their success at the combine to their team’s active involvement on campus and a philosophy focused on simplicity and robustness in bot design. Zeemond stressed the importance of having easily replaceable bots to ensure uninterrupted gameplay.

    Looking ahead, the CRFC colleges will compete in full eleven-on-eleven games this April, vying for the prestigious Hederman Memorial Trophy. This award is named in honor of Brian Hederman, a former Notre Dame student whose drawings of robotic football players played a pivotal role in the sport’s inception at the university.

    The CRFC fall combine not only showcases the technical prowess and innovation of collegiate teams but also highlights the collaborative spirit and the continuous quest for improvement within the field of robotic football. As the sport gains recognition and popularity, it presents an exciting intersection of robotics, engineering, and athletics.


    1. What is the Collegiate Robotic Football Conference (CRFC)?
    The CRFC is an organization that coordinates an annual football tournament played by remotely driven robots created by collegiate teams.

    2. How is robotic football similar to traditional football?
    Robotic football features position-specific bots, offensive and defensive strategies, and referees who enforce a rulebook governing gameplay and specific bot design constraints.

    3. What is the Hederman Memorial Trophy?
    The Hederman Memorial Trophy is awarded to the winning college team in the full eleven-on-eleven games held by the CRFC. It is named after Brian Hederman, a former Notre Dame student who contributed to the founding of the sport.

    4. What universities participated in the CRFC fall combine?
    The fall combine featured teams from Valpraiso University, Trine University, Calvin University, Ohio Northern University, and Notre Dame.