I must ask... what are you two talking about?
Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace (SM) were released over one year ago and designed to be run with some or no Columi gear. They have since been nerfed.
Explosive Conflict (SM) was released on April 2012 and designed to be run with some or no Rakata gear. It has since been (heavily) nerfed.
Terror from Beyond was released September 2012 and designed to be run with some or no Rakata gear.
Are you telling me that people who are able to run EV/KP SM with less than 8-man are part of some elite? The most clueless and disorganized group of people in Rakata gear can do those with 7-man or less! It's hardly a challenge. If you want to classify them as elite fine... 90% of players playing for over a month are elite.
Also if you are level 50 and haven't joined an operation it is by your own choice. At least on The Red Eclipse there are guilds actively raiding that will recruit anyone and constant PuGs being formed on fleet general. Oh and wait... operations are in the group finder!
Also keep in mind one thing before you go attacking the majority of the player base
calling them "elite". Dedicated players are the ones that keep this game afloat. They are the ones who beta-tested, per-ordered, subscribed, and bought cartel coins. They are also the ones who go out there and spread the word, the ones that invite their friends to play. In your opinion Bioware shouldn't cater to these people? Fine again, but don't complain when you have to find a new game also because this one will cease to exist.