The idea that you can't figure out in advance what types of opponents you are going to face is silly.
Good luck on u13 with the 15 year olds this summer.
When the tournament you registered in doesn't have enough teams to make your AA Bracket, what happens then?? I bet the team that entered into the B Bracket has no say when all of a sudden they are playing againt those bigger/cheating AA teams.
I think some tournaments are clearly grade based and you know you will face holdbacks. I have no problem with that. As kids get older, even if they are good, I may need to play in an age based tournament where they actually enforce rules just so they can play kids their own age - and that may hurt recruiting prospects - but I can do that.
But I have been to 4-5 tournaments in the last 18 months that were stated to be either grade based or age based and the rules simply were enforced. Champions in a U division with 6 kids older than the stated 9/1 deadline. 7th graders playing 4th graders. 4th graders playing 6th graders. A grade-based tournament where all the divisions (except mine) were won by teams with a majority of kids in older grades.
Right now, clubs can and should vote with their feet and avoid such tournaments, but some of the ones above were very convenient and run by good people - they just weren't disciplined about enforcing age rules when supposedly weaker teams wanted to "play down", i.e., teams wanting to win more in a lower division.
I hope U.S. Lacrosse comes in with a carrot and a stick approach to reform many tournaments. Big grade based recruiting tournaments would then just continue as is and just need to actually enforce grade rules (See Rising Sons 2021 team and Edge teams).
P.S. - I do think the 9/1 cutoff needs to be moved to 8/1, however. Lots of August boys going to school with kids born later, versus earlier.