in a way, yes.
only here it's called baseline prestige and it's out in the open.
Every school has a prestige. in DIII and DII every school is pretty much equal. It takes X to get from C to B to A. in DI, due to baseline prestige, it is much much easier for Duke to get to A+ than it would be for Bradley. Also, if the two teams had the exact same bad season (winless), Bradley would fall much farther in most instances.