First off, Ill introduce myself. My name is Radhika Jhanwar and I am one of the 2016-17 captains of the UW DangeRaas Dawgs in Seattle. This is my 2nd year on the team and 1st year as captain.
So this conversation began on a raas captain's groupme concerning the representation of newer and less experienced raas teams in RAS bid-point competitions. My team began seriously applying to bid-point competitions this year and we received a lot of emails from these competitions stating that we were up against 35-40 other teams for the 8 spots in the lineup. Also, after the lineup's were announced we saw that so many of these competitions accepted big-name teams with great reputations. It is easy to understand why these competitions would have similar lineups because competitions want the best teams to perform and the best teams want to perform at all the bid point competitions. However, this cycle seems to prevent a lot of smaller and lesser known raas teams from breaking into the circuit and gaining experience since it's very difficult for a newer/smaller/less experienced team to even compare to more experienced teams.
In the groupme, Bhavin Patel (Captain of Nakhraas at Northeastern University), mentioned how [this strategy of big teams applying to all the bid point competitions] makes it tough for the less experienced teams to break through i think NOT because there aren't enough competitions, but because aiming to be on top simply requires the best teams to crowd out the rest. There's no 'prestige' for a renowned team to go to a non-RAS comp over a RAS comp during the same weekend, and essentially, that means that both new teams AND non-RAS comps are affected negatively, and therefore are less likely to be sustainable.
However, that being said seeing the lineup of Raas Mania this year was like a breath of fresh air. Seeing teams on the lineup which I had not known of before excited me and gave me hope that I could also take my team to a big competition like Mania one year. But I still feel that a large part of the raas circuit is being underrepresented in these competitions and I hope that creating this discussion will start some sort of change that will help new raas teams join and do well in the circuit.