Posted: Jan 16, 2013 9:18 PM by cbssports.com
South Bend, IN - Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick held a press conference Wednesday night to address the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who the school claims was the victim of an elaborate hoax.
Earlier on Wednesday, Deadspin reported that Lennay Kekua, Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend who died during the 2012 season, was not real but in fact fabricated.
Swarbrick elaborated on a prepared statement the school had released earlier in the day, chronicling the events that led to Manti Te'o and the school learning he had been the victim of a hoax.
"On the morning of December 26th, very early morning, Manti called his coaches to inform them that, while he was in attendance at the ESPN awards show in Orlando, he received a phone call from a number he recognized as having been that he associated with Lennay Kekua," opened Swarbrick. "When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same voice he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead."
Swarbrick also went on to say that the relationship between Te'o and Kekua was "exclusively an online relationship."
Swarbrick said he arranged a meeting with Te'o for Dec. 27, and said Te'o shared with him the details of the relationship. Notre Dame then hired an outside firm to investigate the case, receiving a final report with the investigation's findings on Jan. 4.
"Our investigators through their work were able to discover online chatter among the perpetrators that is sort of the ultimate proof of this, the joy they were taking, the sort of casualness with which among themselves they were referring to what they had accomplished and what they had done," said Swarbrick.
"We know these perpetrators did not limit themselves to Manti as a target."
Swarbrick also talked about the detail that those "perpetrators" went to in the hoax, saying there was even an address given to send flowers after Kekua's manufactured death. Swarbrick also says there were "several meetings" set up between Te'o and Kekua, including in the state of Hawaii, but Kekua never showed up.
Swarbrick was also very clear that the emotions and feelings that Te'o shared publicly about Kekua were all real.
"Every single thing about this was real to Manti," said Swarbrick. "There was no suspicion. The grief was real, the affection was real, and that's the sad nature of this cruel game."
As for when Te'o will address the media about what happened, Swarbrick said he was under the impression Te'o would address the situation Thursday. He also said that the Te'o family had their own timeline for going public with the story before Deadspin broke it.