Aight, off to classification and what the heck it has to do with "fixing" D1. (If you are lost after the recap see posts below.)
To recap: the problem with D1 is bigger than D1, D1's weakness is a warning of other structural defects. Given a locked Pro division (NXL) then D1 is and should be the epitome of competition for most teams and players or at least reaching D1 is a prerequisite to having any shot at getting a pro spot. So why is the division always virtually empty and how in the hell is it there are more pro ranked players playing in the PSP than D1 players?
Problem 1: too many pro ranked, unranked pro and semi-pro players participating in D1 and making the jump from D2 to D1 an unnaturally big step up. Even if this is merely perception it doesn't matter, it is inhibiting team movement.
Problem 2: D3 is a catch-all bracket that is also considered the entry level to Xball and current rules push players (and teams) through up regardless of results in order to have spots for the next wave of new teams coming in.
Problem 3: That leaves D2 being unbalanced with "real" D2 teams and a bunch of non-competitive teams where the answer to solving D1's deficiencies is to push even more players (teams) up.
Problem 4: somewhere in this system the league is losing teams and my view is these teams are opting out based on lack of a competitive category to play in and/or being pushed into a situation they aren't ready for or are unwilling to compete in.
Fix 1: add a real entry level Xball division, D4.
Fix 2: make entries identical from D3- D1. Same service, same price, no direct financial impediment to moving up.
Fix: 3: perhaps jigger with the prize structure a bit.
Fix 4: make player classification more fluid and take team into account in the process.
There's lots said in the current system about moving players up but very little about moving down. The system is currently loaded toward pushing players up the divisional ranks but the only provisions for moving down allow players who were ranked pro before 2005 to now be considered D1 although a reading of 18.104.22.168.2 leaves it somewhat unclear because there is some sort of provision to be ranked as low as D2 but goes back to reviewing rosters in pro/am 5-man and 10-man without giving any dates but in any case once a pro you stay pro for 4 years. In essence once you gain a D1 or higher ranking that's what you are, period. Which MIGHT be okay if the league wasn't hellbent on generating D1 players artifically.
One of the problems is that there is no accounting for results. For example, if you play D3 3 or more events you --as a player--will be ranked D2 to begin the following season. Doesn't matter if your team finished 3rd or 30th or if you played on a different roster each event. This makes no sense whatsoever. The only place results are accounted for is in D2 and the goal is to push more teams up to D1. (I say teams but teams are really irrelevant to this system because it is players who are being re-ranked according to team results--but in every other situation team results don't matter. Huh?) After Chicago there are potentially 8 or 9 D2 teams that depending on the final two events could be compelled to move up to D1. Is the fifth best team in D2 really in a position to compete against a current D1 team carrying pros and semi-pros? If the classifications mean anything then the answer is no and the solution isn't to force teams up and then make them tear their current rosters apart trying to remain competitive in a new division they don't belong in. That is a recipe for chasing teams out of the league altogether.
What is required is a system that allows predictable movement up & DOWN by rule for all players and the only justification for compulsory reclassification of players is competitive balance. Once classification has been sorted out and a D4 entry level added with entry fees becoming a neutral factor then teams and players will naturally find a place to fit and the best and most committed teams will move up the ranks naturally (and have ranks to move up.)
Sorted. (Yeah, I know, no details of restructuring classification but what's important here is the rationale for making changes--and of course, I do have the changes, just no reason to post them up after another ridiculously long post.)