The HOT 97 Morning Show


There is speculation going on about whether Manti T’eo, the rising college football star was involved in a hoax.

The Heisman Trophy finalist attained fame by becoming the star linebacker of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and continuing to play when his grandmother and girlfriend allegedly died within the same week. It’s now being reported that T’eo’s “dead girlfriend” never existed and was actually an online persona brought to life by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a friend of T’eo's.

The University of Notre Dame released this statement on the situation saying, “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.”

Manti T’eo was reportedly shocked by the news and released a statement to ESPN, “This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but 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. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."

The primary issue that University investigators are concerned with is whether or not T’eo was personally involved in the fabrication.

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