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playing for money?

Aug 21, 2008
Ok, indulge me for a minute here. I have a question. Why aren't their money tournaments in girl's softball? Not a National championship for money, just a weekend tournament. Follow me here..

As many know, my origins in the sport came from Men's fastpitch. And in men's fastpitch, it was not uncommon for tournaments to have prize money. Lets say $5,000. So, on any given weekend 8, 10, or 12 teams (or however many) would come to a place for a weekend and play a tournament. First prize to the winning team was $5k. Technically a player getting "paid" for playing is illegal under the rules (although nearly every player on the top 8 teams in men's FP are making money, sometimes upwards of $5k for the weekend to pitch). Everyone knows this and nobody cares, nobody can "prove" it's happening and the game just goes on. And I'm absolutely sure it was going on when someone like Lisa Fernandez, living in LA, went to play for the Brackettes team in Conneticut on weekends. She wasn't flying across the country for fun!!!!!

Now before anyone says "This is 'AMATEUR' softball, not professional!!!!!" I already know that. Men's softball is amateur too but everyone knows there's money involved. Everyone knows there's money involved in girls softball too, where a stud pitcher changes teams and doesn't have to pay annual fees, travel expenses, etc.

So, why isn't this system used in girl's fastpitch? Instead, sometimes 50 teams show up, play their games, win a trophy and then go home.

The prize monies in these tournaments are generated by entry fee's to the tournament and maybe some sponsorship. Mostly the entry fees. And if you're team is paying $500 to enter a tournament, multiply that by 50 teams, that's a lot of money. I know you have to pay the umpires, grounds crew, etc. but that's not 1/2 of the income received. Is it greed on the part of a tournament director that doesn't want to lose any of his money?

I think it'd be interesting if a top program in the USA, lets pick any club: Beverly Bandits since everyone knows of them. If they said, "We're offering $5k first prize for our July 4th tournament" Would that entice OC Batbusters, Texas Bombers, Iowa Premier, Washington Ladyhawks, etc. to travel there for the tournament? Not only are you seeing the top teams but you have a chance to win something too. Again, I realize the $5k prize is INFINITELY less than what it costs to go play: Flights, rental cars, hotels, meals, etc. But some of these top teams are traveling via plane on a lot of weekends anyway. So the teams have already budgeted for the weekend in Chicago costing X amount. So if a team is planning their annual schedule for July 4th and they see a tournament in Dallas (for example) with good competition and they see the Bandit's tournament with good teams AND the prize money, which would they go for?

I truly wonder if this system would work. Thoughts?


Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
There are tournaments that teams win money.

Lol or are you talking vegas style ;)
tee hee hee
Aug 21, 2008
Really? I'm not doubting you... that's a "really" meaning "wow". Do you happen to know which ones? I've simply never seen or heard of it when it comes to girls travel ball. I think it'd be a great way to entice the top teams to come play somewhere for a prize more meaningful than a trophy.


Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
I was SUPRISED when my coach friend in Nor Cal sent me pics of his team and checks they won!
Was younger age brackets.
'Think' $2500 was largest amount.
Dec 2, 2013
The USA Softball JO Cup had a payout but a very high entry fee. I believe they paid out for 1st through 9th place. Not sure if they are still doing that but it was a big deal when they announced it. 2016 maybe.

About the USA Softball JO Cup

Since the inaugural year in 2015, the JO Cup has grown to include three age groups and has crowned eight champions in its four years. This tournament is team-based and is led by a travel ball coaches committee, whose main focus is to give teams the opportunity to play in an elite tournament and rely on their feedback to produce a competitive atmosphere for all those involved.

Dedicated to giving back to the game of softball, a portion of the entry fee includes a donation to the USA Softball Women's National Team Program. The entry fee serves as a payout for the top finishing teams. Note: Teams must be a 501(c)(3) to receive funds.

"What a great opportunity to have some of the best teams coming together to play in a tournament that has prestige. We will find out who the most competitive programs in the country are now! Some of the USA Softball Coaching Staff will be present also to evaluate these players for our future National Teams." - USA Softball Women's National Team Head Coach Ken Eriksen
Aug 21, 2008
Most places tall the prize money "travel expenses" to avoid any connection to it being "professional" where people play for money. And it's legal to give every team the same amount, whether it's a fixed amount per team or even 25 cents per mile traveled. But I think it's more exciting when there's something up for grabs, not another situation where a team wins a trophy for 4th place.
Apr 1, 2017
Haven’t played in it, but there’s a tournament in NW Illinois that has cash prizes.

Aug 25, 2019
I never really heard of this. Now does that mean that each player gets a cut, of does all the money go To the winning team/organization?
Aug 29, 2015
My DD played in her first one last year. I saw the flyer and went WTF?? 10k first place for the national tourney 18u and 16u. I do believe it goes to the "organization" and then is used for other entry fees or travel expenses etc. But what it does do is bring out all the top organizations in a region. Also as a side note we saw more coaches at the event than any other tourney last year by a long way. Not just our region either, D1 P5 and mid-major east and west coast, Ivy all the way down to JUCO. My guess was over 75 coaches, but I never saw the numbers released. Most of those teams also competed in PGF Nationals in Cal as well. DD played in the qualifier for that tourney this year and of course not many coaches due to Covid, but all the games were streamed.

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