Exposing what really happened in the 2017 NCAA basketball coaches bribery scandal
"The Scheme" (2020 release; 119 min.) is a documentary about what really happened with the (in)famous NCAA basketball coaches bribery scandal in 2017. As the movie opens, we see Sean Miller, basketball coach at Arizona, deny in the strongest terms any involvement with Christian Dawkins. We then get introduced to Dawkins. "Are you a convicted felon?" he is asked. "Yes I am, and this is the first time I am telling the whole story." We then go back in time, as we get introduced to his upbringing in Saginaw, MI and the basketball pedigree in his family. By the time Dawkins is 17, he is already incredibly connected in the world of basketball... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is a new documentary from director Pat Kondelis ("Disgraced"). Here he digs into the 2017 NCAA scandal, and does so primarily by letting Dawkins tell his story and by using lots and lots of archive footage, including a bazillion wire taps. I remembered this scandal, which rocked the NCAA to its core, but didn't know of any of the details. The key issue (and I'm not spoiling anything here) is why and how anyone thought that paying/bribing coaches would ensure certain kids ended up at certain schools (as opposed to: paying the kids directly to convince them to attend a certain school). That is the heart of the matter, and wait until you see this play out in the documentary. I think you will be surprised. I know I was.
"The Scheme" premiered this week on HBO and is now available on HBO On Demand and other streaming services. If you are a fan of college basketball, or simply are interested in a good true crime story. I'd readily suggest you check this out on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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