I have followed women's softball my whole life; my sister finished her career playing 1 season of professional ball. Between her and friends of our family, I have personal/family connections to girls that have played for the following schools:
- Fresno State (during reign of power)
- Alabama (when they Won NC)
- Michigan (made WCWS)
- KU... and a whole host of other D.1 programs
- I know at least 5 of them have been paid to play ball... and (perhaps) several others have had the chance, but declined after college
My daughter is starting this year -- she is coachable, has a lot of "tools" for age/experience... and she is extremely competitive (naturally). My stance is simple: I'll commit whatever time/money for her to take it to the extent that she wants (... and can compete) -- for some girls, that means constant travel to play with/against the best in the country. For the college players in SEC schools... that is exactly what they did.
But for now... I'm having a blast watching her have fun. If she has it in her (has the ability + desire) to commit to more serious play, there will be plenty of time for that in a couple years.