SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- A story that Notre Dame Heisman finalist Manti Te'o's girlfriend had died of leukemia turned out to be a hoax apparently perpetrated against the linebacker.
Calling it incredibly embarrassing to talk about, T'eo said in a statement that he developed an emotional relationship with a woman he met online and maintained that relationship through computers and phones. He said it's painful and humiliating to realize he was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies.
Te'o had said during the season that the loss of his girlfriend inspired him to help lead the Irish to the BCS title game.
The university says that Notre Dame coaches were informed by Te'o and his parents on Dec. 26 that Te'o had been the victim of what appeared to be a hoax.