It means when she shows up at practice they'll let her stay : >
If she's lucky and good, she can work her way to playing time and maybe even a partial or full scholarship. If she's a pitcher or catcher more likely she'll do those things to warm up the front line players.
Whether it's a good or "bad" thing depends on what the girls is hoping to get our of the team, college, life, etc.
I would ask the coach making the offer what it means. My DD had a similar offer, and basically she was told she would be treated the same as everyone else, amd would have the same opportunity to compete for playing time, and their goal was to find some in year 2.
Seemed a little too loose for her. This school was number 2 on her list, but the more she thought about it, the less she liked it.
Keep in mind school is # 1 Softball is #2, Softball is only a way and a means to get money. Your future will not be softball. We are looking at the preferred walk on , because it is the best school for what she wants after school. Many that play at D1's can take this method.
There are no guarantees with an invited walk on, but there is often a "wink and a nod". It is really difficult to evaluate an "invited walk on" situation. There are so many variables.
My DD#3 (the basketball player) was asked to walk on at a Big 10 school. She would have been red shirted. She ended up passing on this and another offer, and ended up playing D3. But, a kid more interested in basketball and playing Big 10 hoops would have jumped at the chance. E.g., if a player wanted to coach after college, the better choice would be to play Big 10 basketball, even if her playing time would have been limited in college. Just being around a Big 10 program is valuable for the right player.
Another player on my DD#1's D1 softball team was an invited walk on. She played very, very well her freshman year, and ended up with a 3 year full ride plus a 'chaser' after her eligibility expired. This player was very pleased with her decision.
As with all college sports, it all is about what the player wants now and in the future.
Speaking as a university teacher who deals with scholarship issues (non-athletic but performance-based), I would regard any talk of future scholarship to be worth the paper it's printed on. It may happen, but if they're out of money this year there's at least an equal chance that after they're done competing for freshmen they'll be out of money next year, too. If everything else works out with the school it's perhaps not a deal-breaker, but for most institutions scholarship money is tight.
Howell is right...if they've already got you in-house (ie-recruited) why would they spend scholarship money on you versus using that money to recruit the NEXT player to campus.
Also, per SBFamily, if school is number one priority, then be careful with D1 (and especially D1 walk-on where you aren't even getting financial help). D1 softball schedules are grueling....but it all depends on the girl and what she's hoping to accomplish.