As much as I've enjoyed the bits of snark on display in the comments of the Phil Veatch interview I think some of the comments have been misunderstood and others have characterized some things as being factual that aren't. Factual, that is. That being the case I'ma take a moment to clear things up at which point y'all may continue sniping at one another.
Contact is blameless in all this, whatever this is. They are just a bunch of guys excited over an unusual opportunity. Whether or not it's a good idea it's one they couldn't resist.
Just because someone thinks giving an untried brand new in the box team a pro spot is a poor idea and a poorer reflection on competitive paintball as sport doesn't make them a jealous or resentful hater. To the great majority it is the situation they have an opinion about, not the team or the players who almost nobody knows from Adam. (The real haters, if there are any, undoubtedly reside in the Phoenix-Tucson corridor and are not the product of Contact getting a pro spot but of local animosities and past histories. Which nobody outside the Southwest knows about or cares about.)
Nor is this about the dictionary definition of professional athlete or the paintball world's notions about pro players or the so-called legitimacy of pro teams. Everyone interested in this subject understands the game is still young and evolving and comparisons to other sports is not about validating competitive paintball but about establishing an ideal, a target to shoot for. And contrary to some of the pedants now is when the game needs clear direction and as much of a shared vision as possible among its adherents. If we don't care about the integrity and purity of the game who will?
As to the leagues supporting pro divisions. No, they are not all equal. By rule the most restrictive is the Millennium. Unfortunately their rules are more like suggestions at times. And while promo/relegation up and down the locked divisions should produce the most competitive "legitimate" teams that only applies as long as demand exceeds supply and over the last 3 years the league has worked long and hard in the off season to keep as many locked division slots filled as possible--including CPL spots.
While no rules exist the PSP is very mindful of the status of its pro division. The league's top 2 priorities are fielding a competitive team and having an organization that can sustain a team over time. The only team to be allowed into the league in recent years that didn't meet that criterion was Thunder and that was because they were largely an uncertain quantity. (They had played in the pro division in the NPPL.) What Thunder did bring to the table were ties to the Naughty Dogs--a long time pro team--and a home in the Northwest. In the year CEP joined the pro ranks (Galveston 2011) the pro division lost Entourage, Aftermath and XSV along with the whole Semi-pro division. In 2010 the pro entrants were Vicious and XSV the top 2 semi-pro ranked teams from '09. Sure the numbers matter. They matter in each league but that doesn't mean they're all the same.
In the NPPL 3.0 they needed to fill an arbitrary 16 team pro division in their first season with the enticement of owning a share of the league. The result from the beginning was a suspect pro division that remains suspect to this day and even with the prospect of league ownership a significant number of teams failed to make a go of it on the field or as organizations. Nor has the league been able to maintain a 16 team division despite efforts to regularly add new teams.
So say what you want about the perceived legitimacy of pro teams and divisions but in every case the level of respect for each league hinges on that perception. And which league is the most respected isn't in doubt.