Kondelis On HBO Doc: You Will Hear The Phone Calls

Emmy award-winning director and producer Pat Kondelis previewed "The Scheme," which chronicles the seedy underbelly of college basketball recruiting

The DA Show
March 31, 2020 - 11:22 am
Sean Miller

USA Today images


Emmy award-winning director and producer Pat Kondelis dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss The Scheme, which chronicles the seedy underbelly of college basketball recruiting. The film, which centers on Christian Dawkins’ involvement in a pay-for-play scheme, debuts Tuesday on HBO at 9 p.m. ET.  

“There wasn’t a whole lot that was surprising,” Kondelis said on The DA Show. “If you’re a sports fan, I don’t know how you don’t know what’s going on as far as recruiting and players getting paid. What was a little bit shocking to me was the amount of money that was getting passed around.”

For example, Brian Bowen Sr. received numerous offers for the services of his son, Brian Bowen II, who committed to Louisville but, due to an FBI investigation, didn’t play a single second of college basketball.

“Oklahoma State offered him $100,000, an $80,000 car and a house to potentially play there for one year,” Kondelis said. “The fair-market value of some of these kids is astronomically high, and that was definitely surprising. . . . That wasn’t even the highest offer that Brian Bown Jr. got, [who] was not even a top-15 player coming out of high school in the country. So imagine the actual worth of somebody like Zion Williamson. It’s millions. It’s millions of dollars that they’re worth to that program. The purists trying to say that amateurism still works and the price of an education – the schools don’t want these kids to get an education. They’re looked at as employees that can help bring in revenue. It’s kind of a joke to even put it in those terms.”

The Scheme exposes these realities in vivid detail.

“It’s the worst-kept secret ever,” Kondelis said. “But the difference is, what we have in The Scheme, you can actually hear coaches having conversations about this pretty specifically, which is different. It is unique to actually [hear the phone calls]. The audience will get to experience FBI wiretaps, where the [people] on these calls and in these videos obviously do not know they’re being recorded. So you get to hear the intent and the motivation directly. There’s a couple of calls that we have that have never been played publicly, have never been played in court before, that we were given by sources. So you can hear some coaches – Sean Miller and Will Wade, specifically – having conversations with Christian Dawkins, and just hearing that is way different than reading it in a transcript. It’s way different than speculating who might be dirty and who might not be dirty.”