We all know that the UAB football shutdown has been a complete mess from the beginning.
We also know, through various memos that have been leaked, that the shutdown plan was in place before December, contradicting comments to the contrary by school president Ray Watts.
As to how long, some Twitter DMs exchanged between a supporter and former UAB head coach Garrick McGee (who departed after the 2013 season to become the offensive coordinator at Louisville) may shine some more light.
The DMs between the supporter and McGee began the day before Thanksgiving, prior to the Blazers' important road game with Southern Miss (one the team needed to win to become bowl-eligible), with the acknowledgement that the nail was basically already in the coffin due to the fact that Brian Mackin, the school's athletic director, failed to give Clark a show of support--despite Clark getting the team to striking distance of .500.
McGee, as you can see, admits he had known of the plan when he was the coach, so it was in place as early as late 2013 if not earlier (contrary to Watts' comments suggesting otherwise). But how much earlier?
Quick backstory: Callaway was McGee's predecessor from 2007-11 (hired, and later fired, by Mackin) and played under Paul Bryant Jr.'s father, the legendary "Bear" Bryant, at Alabama. Keep in mind that the Alabama Board of Trustees was accused of strong-arming UAB to hire lower-profile coaches.
McGee clearly wanted to help, and wanted to help while with the school, but was told to not say anything. Question is, by who? The Board of Trustees? Watts?
"The game", obviously, is referring to the Southern Miss game that would take place that Saturday. (which UAB won.)
Marshall, as you'll recall, lost to Western Kentucky ("Jeff" being Jeff Brohm, WKU's head coach). UAB, as you'll also remember, was not invited to a bowl.
Moving on from that, we see the conversation pick up a short time later as the supporter looks to dig into what exactly the situation entails, and trying to get McGee to pull some strings in hopes of an eleventh-hour plan to save the program.
But then, below, it's obvious that this is the point when the information starts to leak out to the media about what's going on. By now, McGee has received contact as to what he knows and how much he knows:
Here we see a paradoxical situation: would the fact that facilities were substandard and in disrepair help the cause of saving the program, because it shone a light on the lack of funding, or would it hurt because it would give the Board of Trustees extra ammo and accuse the university itself of avoiding upkeep of those facilities?
McGee finally ends up regretting that he even mentioned the situation at all after the supporter went public and the media began to catch wind of what was going on. It's a clear about-face from his (apparent) position in wanting to save the program, and while (deep down inside) he probably still wanted to, he may have feared repercussion from the individuals that wanted to keep it under wraps in the first place.
This particular episode shows that there's still many layers to the onion that is the UAB shutdown saga. I'm sure that down the road we'll hear of another angle, another aspect of the story that we haven't heard before--and see more evidence of the cover-ups and blatant misleading that have surrounded this fiasco from the start.