I did a breakdown of the advancement data I have, for those who are curious.
The policy that has decided been on states that a minimum of 2 teams (4 teams for the 3 two-field events) will be advancing to the NorCal regional championships. Under this policy, the only two teams guaranteed a spot at the championship, from any qualifier are the host team (whose advancement, according to section 4.8.2 of the game manual part 1, is optional), and the Inspire Award winner. At the 3 two-field events, the Winning Alliance Captain and Inspire 2nd place also advance. The remaining teams will be drawn by lottery.
A breakdown of the data would indicate there are 12 host teams, for 14 qualifiers (not the 16 the website claims), plus 14 Inspire Award winners, equals 26 teams. From the 3 two-field qualifiers, an additional six teams get slots: 3 Winning Alliance Captains and 3 Inspire 2nd place. That adds up to 32 of the 48 available slots. The remaining 16 slots are then to be filled via lottery.
There are still 9 Winning Alliance Captains that do not have a spot (as there are 14 qualifiers, and 3 are two-field events that automatically advance the Winning Alliance Captain, plus 2 no-host events). Instead of advancing these Winning Alliance Captains automatically, when there are clearly still slots available for them to take, and filling the last available slots by lottery, the policy is instead to fill all 16 slots via lottery. This in turns creates the highly probable situation where a Winning Alliance 2nd pick or Think Award winner is selected to go to the regional championships instead of a Winning Alliance Captain who earned the spot, according to the rule of advancement from the game manual (section 4.8.2, part 1).
How is this a sensible solution? It appears more like faulty mathematics, where it was decided to simply divide the number of available seats by the number of qualifiers and then declare that that is the most any competition can send automatically, while advancing an optional team over a mandatory team, instead of taking a moment to consider the situation and work out a neater, more equitable solution.
Last year, there were 11 qualifiers—12 if you count Daly City (two fields) twice. Each qualifier advanced 4 teams, and Daly City advanced an extra 4, since there were two fields. 48 teams exactly. [http://www.norcalftc.org/2014-2015-advancement-results-2/]
This year, 3 new physical qualifier locations have been added, and 2 additional 2 field events, for a total of 17 qualifiers; roughly 1.5 times more qualifiers than last year, and half the number of teams automatically advancing. And yet, one qualifier was rescheduled because there were not enough teams participating and 5 qualifiers remain open into their 3rd play, with a number of teams already signed up to play 3 events! 2 competitions, both next weekend, remain open to those who wish to play a 4th event! [http://www.norcalftc.org/qualifying-tournament-status/].
Increasing the number of qualifiers so drastically was patently unnecessary and the issue is further compounded by the decision to fill the remaining 16 slots, a full 3rd of the competition, by LOTTERY, instead of awarding those slots to deserving teams who earned them, and now face the possibility of not being able to advance in the competition because by chance they were not drawn from the lottery.