Manti Te'o Must Answer Questions

"A lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here"

By Staff Report
|  Thursday, Jan 17, 2013  |  Updated 6:37 PM PDT
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Notre Dame Athletic Director Speaks of Te'o

FILE / AP

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o stands on the sidelines in this 2012 file photo. Notre Dame issued a press release saying stories about Te'o's girlfriend dying, which he said inspired him to play better, turned out to be a hoax.

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New Developments in College Football Star's Girlfriend Hoax

In a bizarre and confusing story out South Bend, Indiana, Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o says he was the victim of a cruel hoax, and the mastermind behind it may be living in Southern California. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2013.

Notre Dame Athletic Director Speaks of Te'o

A published story that Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o's girlfriend had died of leukemia was dismissed by the university Wednesday as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker.
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Hours after Notre Dame officials held a strange press conference about their star linebacker Manti Te'o and an Internet hoax, someone tweeted fuel to the fire. 

The tweet -- announcing new information at noon Pacific Time -- came from an account originally believed to be associated with the fake, dead girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. That account was later discovered to have been created on January 16, and has since been verified as a hoax in itself.

It was just one of the many twists in the bizarre story.

Throughout Te'o's season - one that ended with him placing second in Heisman trophy voting, and playing in the BCS National Championship game -- the story of his ill girlfriend provided a tragic back story to his triumphs on the field.

The tale of that girlfriend quickly unraveled Wednesday in a long, detailed report in Deadspin.

Following the report, the university discussed the matter in a hastily-called press conference. Te'o wasn't there and as of Thursday afternoon hadn't faced the media to answer myriad questions about the timeline of his alleged fake Internet romance, and whether he ever met in person with the girl. 

It's unclear when he will.

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about," Te'o said in a written statement released Wednesday in response to the article. "Over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her."

Notre Dame, for its part, is trying to remove itself from the story. 

A Notre Dame official says Te'o is in Florida at the IMG combine camp, a renowned operation at the Nick Bollatteri tennis camp in Bradenton that tries to prepare college players for life in the NFL--handling finances and the media.

The official says Te'o has hired Tom Condon of CAA as his agent. As such, he has turned professional and Notre Dame will no longer assist him with such things as media relations. That is up to Condon now, the official says.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he'd have no further comment on the matter beyond his news conference last night.

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