My recommendation for this is similar to a suggestion I had a long time ago when the Partner program was still in existence.
BECAUSE there are tiers and there's, unfortunately three stages for this, Tier 1 ships shouldn't even be played against other players. Forget that recruit is an option. Tier 1 is your tutorial for learning how to play the game. The immediate tutorial is good and all, but then you have to go into Proving Grounds for a bit, which is also fine, but you just have to play a set number of matches. What Tier 1 should be is, research and purchase upgrades while learning and upgrading to Tier 2 ships and even researching those, upgrading, etc.
Recruit should be Tier 3, Veteran Tier 4, Legendary Tier 5.
Why that specifically? Because you don't play enough matches in Proving Grounds to be able to get a solid grasp on how the game really works before jumping into online matches vs other players. At least now, with Recruit being Tier III, you have a foundation.