Seems to me:
What Nick asked was "If Osensei had never received any rank (which I realize is debatable from either point of view- I feel it is moot), does that shed light on the importance or meaningfulness of rank?" that was a paraphrase, I hope I got the question right.
Seems like a legitimate question. If we are all training in an art created by some guy with no "real" credentials, are we spending our time wisely?
If we are spending our time getting "credentials", why? If Osensei modeled for us that clearly credentials are not germaine to attainment, what is the point?
Would this art benefit from completely letting go of rank? My opinion is that if the art could survive, it might benefit the art.
The problem is that most of us who haven't yet attained "rank" feel that it is terribly important. Probably most of us who have attained some "rank" realize it is pretty meaningless as far as the quality of atainment. Those of us who have attained rank and still feel it is important, have their opinion too, and may well leave the art if, suddenly they were stripped of their "rank".
Osensei's having received rank or not doesn't really matter unless you believe that "rank" is necessary to understanding (and the process of getting "rank" may make it so). Either way it is a very interesting question.
Thanks fer the food for thought, I was starving in my own soup.