For example in C we constantly battled against ASA A/B teams that never played in a USSSA NIT or won/placed in an NIT. These guys were not C or D players...but because there was no NIT within 500 miles they classed themselves as C and came to Orlando and played.
The same thing happened in D and E ... I can't say what goes on now, because I haven't been to a C world tournament or even watched C since the move from Disney, but that's the "earning" it point. NITs kept the classification more closely tied. You still had mis-classified teams but not to the extent you can now...since now all you have to do is pay the fee...