Back in the Dark Ages of tournament paintball teams largely self-selected what division they would play--at least when they made the jump to the national stage. Some made the wrong call and quietly dropped back, others dropped out. Still others developed and improved. The majority stayed where they were. Not quite good enough to contend for titles but not bad enough either to embarrass themselves. Of course back then there were basically only three choices; Pro, Am & Novice--and novice was a mid- to late- Nineties invention. The standard back was winning. Teams determined their ability to compete at the next level on their ability to win where they were. And when they moved up their target was the best teams in their new division.
I didn't take that trip down memory lane to suggest that the old way was a better way, only that it reflects a different mindset. Underlying the UPC is a conception of each division as sort of self-contained bell curve of results that's a bit fuzzy at the edges. The bulk of teams should be bunched up in the middle with fewer teams distinguishing themselves and a like number unable to keep up. The justification for this is that any representative spectrum of teams should, after some period of competition, display an approximate bell curve in their collective results. But that isn't what the divisions should represent and the average divisional team should not aspire to middle-of-the-pack status--particularly in the upper amateur divisions. By the time a team reaches D1 status it ought to be a proven winner in competition with other proven winners, not a bell curve sampling of teams.
Ultimately the league is responsible. It is their rules & competition. My concern is that the rules are unable, and in fact inimical to, maintaining a consistent (hopefully excellent) standard of play in which the divisional distinctions are actually meaningful. And I am convinced that the standard has deteriorated over time. (Also don't think for a minute that because I'm focused on divisional play that this doesn't apply to the pro division too because it certainly does.)
For the sake of keeping my example simple let's agree that D2 has 20 teams and that 20% of them will qualify for D1 status. So 4 teams of the 20 move along. That means the best remaining team from the last season was the fifth best. If at least 4 of the incoming teams for the new season aren't better than the best remaining team the overall quality of play in the division necessarily drops. And even then last year's best team was four places better than the best team leftover so the incoming teams only have to be better than last year's fifth place team to be winners. If you repeat that pattern for five years what is the likelihood that the winner of year 5 was as good as the winner of year 1? And how will you be able to tell?