SOUTH BEND, Ind. —
Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown told the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune in a story published Sunday that university officials decided disclosing the information about the hoax before the BCS championship in Miami would not be in the best interest of the teams or the individuals involved.
The hoax about Te’os dead girlfriend became public Wednesday when it was reported by Deadspin.com. Swarbrick held a news conference later that day to discuss what Notre Dame knew, and gave full support to Te’o. Later, Swarbrick said the family had intended to speak publicly about the hoax Jan. 21.
Brown said the university was “utterly stunned” when Te’o informed them about details of the hoax on Dec. 26 and had a “difficult time getting our arms around it.”
Te’o met with Swarbrick for nearly two hours on Dec. 27 after returning to campus to give a full account of his relationship with the online woman he knew as Lennay Kekua, and then again the next day, Brown said.
How the university should proceed was the topic of discussions between top administrators for a week, Brown said.
The university hired outside investigators on Dec. 29.
“We asked them to focus on any threats to the university or its reputation, by providing more information about the so-called Kekua family that might help us understand motives, or whether they might have had any contact with others at Notre Dame,” said Brown, who declined to name the firm.
The investigators were in touch the next day, telling the university they could find no evidence of a Lennay Kekua or any of the relatives she had told Te’o about in several “sophisticated databases” the firm used. Brown said the investigators concluded “the entire family was fictitious, because of their inability to find them, and that the investigation should turn to trying to identify the woman who had been talking to Manti.”