I don't know the answer, but it seems apparent there is an issue. I love the BN and happily acknowledge they play no small part in my own brewing knowledge, as well as several other online message boards and forums where people happily exchange information with the goal of elevating the level of home brewing overall. I heartily raise my glass in cheers to Justin, Jamil, and the whole crew for what they have done, and for their COY victory.
But they create an unfair playing field, and certainly the majority of the members do in fact live within regions where there are brick and mortar club options they could choose as clubs. If they focus their efforts, than the only way to beat them will be to form alliances to compete with their numbers, the same way it occurs in business. Already there was an interesting, and I'm sure unintentional consequence of opening entries to all regions from anywhere. You started to see clubs entering in multiple regions. This way if club X has 5 incredible IPA brewers, rather than knock each other out in the regionals where there are only 3 medals available, they could enter in 5 different regions where there are 15 medals to compete for. In effect they could garner 5 gold medals, where previously they would have been limited to 1 gold.
In the past there have been very strong brew clubs, and they have been difficult to beat in competition. But you always knew how to do it. Get similar membership numbers and bust your rump refining your club members brewing skills. There was a finite number of categories any club could enter in based on the style brackets. Now with virtual nationwide clubs, and with multiple regions open to any club, you can never be sure how many entries you have to compete against for any given club. Large clubs can saturate or "carpet bomb" the regional portion. This could have the unfortunate result of alienating many smaller and mid sized clubs.
For me, my local club represents community, camaraderie, friendship, and regular interaction. We attend larger events such as regional or national events to share on a larger level, or to test our skills in friendly competition, but it all starts at the local level. Yes, it takes a village to raise a brewer.