The HBO Sports documentary film THE SCHEME telling the revealing, no-holds-barred tale of Christian Dawkins, convicted in federal court in the biggest criminal case in collegiate sports history, debuts TUESDAY, MARCH 31 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, it was announced by Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports.
The film will also be available on HBO on Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
The Bat Bridge Entertainment feature-length presentation is directed by Pat Kondelis, whose 2017 account of the Baylor University basketball scandal “Disgraced” won the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports Documentary.
“The Christian Dawkins scandal is a tale of alleged inducements, payoffs, NCAA rules violations, federal criminal charges, and convictions,” said Peter Nelson. “Director Pat Kondelis, in an unprecedented look, shines a light on the hidden underworld of big-time basketball recruiting through the eyes of a self-described ‘entrepreneur’ whose childhood big ambitions took him on the wildest ride of his life in a story still unfolding.”
"This story is surprising in every way imaginable and goes far beyond the limits of a college recruiting scandal,” says Pat Kondelis. “I'm extremely proud to partner with HBO Sports to tell the real story for the first time."
The film chronicles the extensive and unprecedented two-year undercover FBI investigation into college basketball corruption that came to a dramatic climax on September 26, 2017, when Adidas executives and assistant coaches at major college programs were arrested in a pay-for-play scheme. While no head coaches were charged, the federal government alleged that an unassuming and unknown 25-year-old man was part of a criminal enterprise that had infiltrated college basketball and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to steer recruits to prominent athletic programs. The man’s name was Christian Dawkins.
Now, in THE SCHEME, Christian Dawkins faces the camera for the first time and explains in fascinating detail how a kid from Saginaw, Michigan ended up in a hotel suite surrounded by FBI agents with a warrant for his arrest.
Through revelation after revelation, viewers will learn how Dawkins was orchestrating massive cash payments to top high school prospects with the help of Adidas, and, unbeknownst to him, undercover FBI agents. Dawkins will disclose not only the facts of the scheme, but the context of the FBI investigation. Ultimately, guilty verdicts on a range of fraud and bribery charges would leave Dawkins with approximately eighteen months of prison time.
THE SCHEME provides a startling account that is the first instance of the federal government attempting to characterize the participation in NCAA rules violations as federal crimes, triggering enormous potential implications.
With interview subjects in addition to Dawkins including his parents; his attorney Steve Haney; journalists Dan Wetzel and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, combined with the use of news archival, video and audio evidence from the case, and a highly stylized presentation, viewers will be immediately drawn into this remarkable story told in a uniquely cinematic style.
HBO Sports has been recognized with nine George F. Peabody Awards and 36 Sports Emmy® Awards for documentary production excellence over the years.
HBO Sports presents THE SCHEME, a Bat Bridge Entertainment production in association with MASTRY. Pat Kondelis directs; executive producers Michael H. Rockafellow, Stephen L. Germer, Jody M. Wingrove, Rudy Cline-Thomas and Pat Kondelis. Executive producers for HBO, Peter Nelson and Rick Bernstein; supervising producer for Bat Bridge, Lauren Barker; supervising producers for HBO, Bentley Weiner and Jonathan Crystal. Produced by Lynsey Tamsen Jones. Edited by Sean McQueeney. Original Music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans.