A figurative bomb went off in the vicinity of Alabama's largest city this morning as AL.com unleashed new documents detailing plans to cut three sports at UAB were laid out far in advance of what we've been told.
The documents show that public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. prepared detailed plans for UAB to announce last September that it would eliminate the three programs, months before the school made the actual announcement.
Much will be discussed about this news, but one of the biggest developments I can confirm is this is no longer a regional story.
Essentially, this PR firm, which is one of at least two the school has hired outside its own external affairs department, apparently worked out a way to drop the big news in September, smack dab in the middle of football season. Deciding that was a bad idea because the team might decide not to play any more games, the powers that be waited until the week after the final game to let them know. Meanwhile, UAB President Ray Watts continued to insist nothing was final all the way through last fall.
You really don't need to go any further than this single sentence:
The Carr report UAB made public Dec. 2 was dated Nov. 18. Among the documents AL.com obtained is a draft of that same Carr report dated Sept. 3.
Sard Verbinnen further reasoned the national media would be distracted by all the talk of increasing costs for NCAA programs, which would take some of the heat off of the whole UAB situation. And wouldn't you know, ding ding ding!
UAB head coach Bill Clark had a reaction this morning that was likely related to the report:
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!! #WTD— Bill Clark (@CoachBillClark) March 23, 2015
Here's the press conference Representative Jack Williams held this morning revealing the internal documents:
I'm personally still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor while attempting to digest this. Check back throughout the day as the story continues.