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WAUSAU (WAOW) – Newman Catholic High School announced Friday it was discontinuing the summertime Gus Macker basketball tournament.
“With our fixed costs rising and the number of teams down, it wasn't an event we could continue,” Athletic Director Dale Thoreson said. “We are sorry to see it go.”
The three-on-three tournament, which started in 1991, originally hosted 1,000 teams, he said. About 400 played in this year's June tournament, about 80 fewer than in 2012, organizers said
No one has stepped forward to take over the tournament, Thoreson said.
Scott McNeal , owner and founder of Gus Macker Basketball in Belding, Mich., said he should know in a couple of weeks whether another group will continue hosting the tournament.
“Three, maybe four groups have show interest and we are trying to call those organizations,” he said in a telephone interview. He declined to elaborate.
Right now the closest Gus Macker tournament is in Eau Claire.
Thoreson said the number of teams participating in the Wausau tournament have plunged over the years, in part because youth have so many other things to participate in these days, including different sports camps.
The tournament's coordinator, Jill Mabry, declined to reveal how much it would have cost the school to host another tournament.
“Twenty years ago, we raised a ton of money. This year not so much,” she said, declining to elaborate.
It will be difficult to convince another group to take over the tournament, given the trend of nearly 100 fewer teams entering the competition each of the last six years, she said.
“Is it a good business decision? Maybe not,” Mabry said.
Gus Macker started in 1974 with a single neighborhood tournament in Michigan, McNeal said.
Last year, 38 cities hosted the tournaments, down from 60 to 70 in the mid-1990s, he said.
"The trend has been stable in recent years," McNeal said. “We have not gone up or down by more than five tournaments a year.”
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