They were supposed to celebrate that night. It was mid-August, and Kyle Fuller, Eric Schulman, and Jerry Castro were all together in Nashville. The Tennessean had posted an article about their book project, a Kickstarter-funded look at Fuller's life as a Vanderbilt basketball player and student entitled Below the Rim: The Dirty Side of College Basketball. They were excited about the press and getting ready to celebrate later that night with a house party—they even had a banner printed out with the name of their website on it—when Fuller glanced at his phone and grew quiet.

His co-authors wanted to know what was wrong; he showed them his phone. His mother had forwarded him a string of text messages she'd received that appeared to be from Vanderbilt basketball coach Kevin Stallings.