I think if you're below the cut-off when you joined the tournament, that's fair. If you win a few games before the start and your rate goes above the cutoff, you should still be allowed to stay in.
That being said, in the "Xmas and New Year Tournament - Beginner Level", I'm going to be playing ICTWizz. Look him up! That guy, should really be rated at 1900! His rating is only 1170 now because he stopped playing and was timed out in a bunch of games.
The cutoff was 1150. I was 1213 by the start of the tournamet. Another guy I know, was provisional when he signed up, but was over 1300 by the the start because before the tounament he beat one +1400 player.
IMHO, ICTWizz is taking candy from babies. But it should be up to him to stay or go. He may win the tournament, but I'll have more fun! I don't think anyone should be kicked out.
Russ may change the rule to say you must be below the cut-off at the *start* of the tournament, but then you might be tempted to resign a few games just to get into, or stay in, easier tournaments. You might even fool your opponents. Doesn't sound very honorable to me.