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Sunbelt Classic Future in Jeopardy

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The Sunbelt Classic brings the top high school baseball players from across the country to Norman for a week-long tournament. The Sunbelt Classic brings the top high school baseball players from across the country to Norman for a week-long tournament.
The tournament's future is in jeopardy after a lacking number of sponsors and a loss of $7,000 last year. The tournament's future is in jeopardy after a lacking number of sponsors and a loss of $7,000 last year.

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma - After three decades in Norman, the Sunbelt Classic baseball tournament is in jeopardy of being canceled.

For 33 years the Sunbelt Classic has matched outstanding high school baseball players from different states in a week-long tournament.

Many Norman residents, like Mitzi Roberts, think it's a great event

"In the big picture it's a wonderful opportunity to showcase Norman, to showcase oklahoma, and on a more personal level. I think it's a great opportunity to make a connection with these boys and make them feel at home when they're away from home," Roberts said.

Roberts and many other families keep team members at their homes during the Classic. But last year the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau lost $7,000 on Sunbelt, and the Bureau is rethinking its sponsorship.

"The CVB cannot do this alone. We have got to make this more of a community-wide effort, more host families, more hotel cooperation, more cooperation with the booster club, with the schools," said Stephen Koranda, Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The CVB said it doesn't know how much money Sunbelt made or lost this year because Sunbelt director John Schwartz hasn't turned over the money he collected during the tournament.

"We're in discussions with Mr. Schwartz, and I'd just rather leave it at that," Koranda said.

Next month Norman restaurateur Joe Sparks will chair the CVB and will have to deal with the Sunbelt issue.

"What we need to do is get all parties sitting down and see how we can tweek or adjust or optimize the tournament to get rid of the controversy that's surrounded it in the past," said Joe Sparks.

John Schwartz could not be reached for comment about the money that has not been turned in.

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