Manti Te'o Hoax: Notre Dame Star Allegedly Scammed

The football player's online "girlfriend" turned out to be a "Catfish" style ruse.
5:38 | 01/17/13

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Transcript for Manti Te'o Hoax: Notre Dame Star Allegedly Scammed
Now, to the latest and bizarre story that's breaking about the notre dame superstar linebacker, manti te'o, and whether he was the victim of a bizarre hoax. Josh has been tracking this overnight. We've been talking about it all morning. When they first posted it yesterday afternoon, it was a stunner. Elizabeth, he was the star player whose heartbreaking loss of his girlfriend just before a big game made national headlines and made manti te'o the individual story of the college football season. But now, it turns out his relationship was an elaborate hoax. We're going to hear from one of the deadspin writers who uncovered this explosive story? Just a moment. But first, take a look. Manti te'o, the all-american linebacker at notre dame. But known junot just for his play on the field but for his heart off of it. His story of overcoming the loss on the same day, of his grandmother and his girlfriend, lennay kekua. How would you describe your emotions on the field tonight? They're with me. Reporter: The fame turned him into a contender for the heisman. And the raw emotion humanized him. You promise that you're still over there and that you'll play. And you know, you will honor me through the way you play. Reporter: This morning, te'o and notre dame say that while the love and the tears were real, the girlfriend was not. And according to the sports website deadspin, which break the story, lennay kekua was a hoax. And the picture we saw of her was actually another woman, who is very much alive and says she doesn't know te'o. This was a very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax, perpetrated for reasons we can't fully understand. Reporter: In a statement released overnight, te'o wrote, quote, to realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating, end quote. During this fall's football season, notre dame star talked often about the girlfriend he says he knew for years. When you have somebody that you talk to every, single day, that you sleep with on the phone because she's -- she is going through a lot of things. And all of a sudden, it hits silence, that silence really eats at you. Reporter: Espn reporter gene wojciechowski interviewed te'o. Overnight, notre dame's athletic director said the school conducted an independent investigation and believes te'o. The thing I am most sad about is that the single most trusting human being I've ever met will never be able to trust in the same way in his life. We're joined by timothy burke, one of the two authors that broke the story. What tipped you off to the story? We got an e-mail last week that there's something fishy about lennay kekua, manti te'o's alleged girlfriend. We had different outlets reporting different days she had died. We had stories saying they met in 2009. We now know from "the south bend tribune" said today, that brian te'o is the one that told us they met in 2009. That's not true because they never met in person at all. Again, a year-long hoax. The big question this morning, why would this be perpetrated at all? You know, that's a great question, josh. And it's one of those questions that it's so hard to answer. And you think about the amount of time and energy it would take to pull off this hoax, to be on the phone, to have someone be on the phone that wasn't his friend because he would have recognized his voice, presumably. To send all these messages, the letters that he supposedly sent her. Or that she sent him before every football game. All of these things to pull this off. He would not have been able to have his own life because he would have been consumed being this fake woman that was manti te'o's girlfriend. That's why a lot of people are suspicious when te'o says he had no idea and he was just the sucker in this because, you know, why would somebody go to such great lengths to hoax him like this? As somebody who led this investigation, do you believe that manti te'o was not at all complicit in this hoax? I think that there are some questions about when he became aware of it. We expect to hear from manti te'o, perhaps as soon as today. What questions, then for you, do you need manti te'o to answer? I want to know if he told his father this madeup story about how they met in 2009. And I want to knowbout the story about how she used to visit him in hawaii, if that was manti te'o fabrication or something in a brian te'o made up to tell the press. It doesn't matter to me if he was a victim of a hoax or if he was in on it. I want to know the truth on how the media came to report these things. Once the media reports something, it becomes part of the story, even if it's not true. How did those things come about? Those are the questions I would want to ask manti. Perhaps part of the story, perhaps part of the myth. Timothy burke, we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks, josh.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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