Broader entry routes allow breathing space
Imagine the CAO process as a passenger gate at an airport; the wider it is, the greater the potential for big numbers to get through, leaving seat selection to later.
Replace that with a series of narrow entrances, accommodating the same numbers overall, but people feel they have a better chance of being top of a queue, and watch the race. Then, on the plane, they end up sitting beside someone who couldn't, or wouldn't, sprint as fast.
The proliferation of CAO courses, about 1,400 at last count, was like opening up a series of narrow gates. Colleges rolled out niche offerings, with small numbers of places, to lure the most motivated. Like the plane, once inside, the front-runners sit in the same lectures as everyone else.