The college football world was thrown into a frenzy Wednesday afternoon when Deadspin reported that the girlfriend of Notre Dame star linebacker and Heisman finalist Manti Te'o -- whom he had mourned after her midseason death from leukemia -- did not, in fact, exist and appeared to be an elaborate hoax.
Though Deadspin suggested Te'o could have been complicit in the deception, Notre Dame issued a statement on the report Wednesday defending Te'o as the victim of the hoax. It reads in full:
Te'o also released a statement late Wednesday. It reads:
Te'o is projected as a top-20 selection in April's draft.