The way I learned about sutemi is that it’s a way of countering when one’s has lost the standing position, but hasn’t lost the “edge”. Such perspective probably takes into consideration the martial origins of judo, since throwing yourself on the ground in a close combat would be extremely dangerous in case of failure or multiple opponents. In that sense, sutemi would not the same as “sacrifice”, which sounds to me more like “coming out of desperation”. I believe this view is debatable but it’s not all that important right now. The fact that judo competitions today feature sacrifice throwing comes out of the lost context in which judo throws originally existed.
Jujutsu was based on the premise of unequal opponents with the attacker enjoying the advantage of strength and/or the initiative but being ignorant to their inherited disadvantages such as the easy loss of balance. On the other hand, judo match is by all means meeting of the equals, so one’s personal skill becomes the only factor of difference, at least theoretically. However, judo rules force the use of techniques from the unequal situation in a different context. As a result we have that the only way to meet the ends is to cling to the opponent in a manner that resembles the original throw (underhook, belt grab, leg hook etc.) and then force the throw by a sacrifice fall or even jump. Defining this as judo thus becomes a matter of opinion but not of a principle, which then becomes a question of its own.
This, of course, has developed gradually as the contestants have become increasingly knowledgeable and rules have become more defined. A natural end would be a stalemate after which a new direction would have to be found similar to what Kano in his time did with judo.