Notre Dame: Football Star Manti Te'o Was 'Catfished' in Girlfriend Hoax


According to Notre Dame, Te'o and his family came forward to the university with concerns that Te'o had been the victim of a hoax in December 2012.

"On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te'o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name, Lennay Kekua, apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia," the university said in a statement released today.

"The university immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax," it said. "While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators."

Though the university's statement may have implied that it referred the matter to outside authorities, Swarbrick later said that the university had only hired a private investigator and not notified the NCAA or law enforcement.

"There's no factual predicate for an NCAA violation that we could find," he said.

"And no, we did not refer this to criminal authorities," he added. "We believe it's the victim's decision to make."

Te'o is currently preparing for the NFL draft, according to his statement.

"There's a lot of tragedy here, there's a lot of sorrow here," Swarbrick said.

"But the thing I am most sad of is--" he added, pausing to apologize and wipe away tears, is "that the single most trusting human being I have ever met will never be able to trust in the same way ever again."

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