Yeah, you're probably right about that; It ain't for me.
A little back story, I played APA for years. With friends, and sometimes just joined a team and made even more friends. In the end, I saw my own game going drastically down. I could have used that $10 for more table time. Instead, I tried to dedicate it to the one day a week - where I'd wait 40 minutes to play one game. Try to help on the time-outs and explain how a safety might work best, only to see it butchered.
I'd be pushed out by my captain up against a SL-2. Mercilessly watching someone piddle putz a few stripes.... around a barbox... and yes with a Revo shaft in a JB case.
I spent all that time.... wondering..... is this what pool is now??
Alstl had it pegged when he mentioned who the APA would pander to - the banger or the better player.
As far as sandbagging goes - you said it yourself "Some teams go there and are consciously subverting the skill level system"
APA degrades the game. APA isn't saving pool. APA comes to a room, siphons off players who would have otherwise participated in the pool room culture, working through the ranks and playing traditional games on full sized tables. On occasion in addition to regular league play the APA will run tournaments....for APA only. All this creates a division where players have to choose what path they take. As typical for our time people want the easy way. APA will play anywhere, shitty bars on shitty equipment, So long as the money keeps rolling in. Many times league operators undercut traditional, longstanding rooms and contribute to their demise. So when the last pool hall, with the last 9 foot table in your town closes just be happy that the APA has saved pool for us all.