Right after Christmas, Te’o told his coach that a woman who sounded like the dead girlfriend had called him to say she wasn’t deceased after all. The coach told the higher ups, and Notre Dame hired an outside firm to investigate the case. When an exposé broke on the Web site Deadspin, the school’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, held a press conference to tearfully announce that the investigation showed that Te’o was the victim of a “very elaborate, sophisticated hoax perpetrated for reasons we can’t fully understand. But it had a cruelty at its core.”
This all occurred a couple of years after the Notre Dame team was involved in a genuine tragedy when a freshman from a neighboring girls’ college reported she had been sexually assaulted by a football player. The school did not order up an outside investigation. In fact, there appeared to be no investigation at all. After a period of dead silence in which she received a threatening text from another player, the girl died from an overdose of medication. Nothing else happened. Writing this week in The Washington Post, Melinda Henneberger, a Notre Dame graduate, noted that “my alma mater held the kind of emotional news conference for the fake dead girl they never held for the real one, Lizzy Seeberg.”
Game’s over. Notre Dame loses.