Charismatic Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o may have just sealed his place in the history books, not for his impressive victories on the field, but for being involved in (knowingly or not) a widespread hoax involving a dying girlfriend who, it turns out, never existed.
In interviews last year, Te'o spoke about the personal obstacles and tragedies he'd overcome on his way to football excellence - most notably the deaths of his beloved grandmother and his girlfriend and love of his life, Lennay Kekua, within the same day. Te'o talked about the pain of losing both so close to him, as well as Kekua's emotional struggle - and finally losing battle - with leukemia. Though Te'o never met Kekua, the pair communicated mainly through e-mails and text messages.
Information is contradictory and details remain murky: Was Te'o in on the hoax, capitalizing on a crowd-pleasing sympathetic rags-to-riches story? Or was he himself the victim of a cruel hoax by someone sharing her (or his) fictional but emotionally moving life story? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between?