CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO/CBS) - It was a tragic love story.
Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o said his girlfriend died of leukemia.
But the sports blog Deadspin now says that girlfriend never existed -- and a friend of Te'o is behind the hoax.
The big question -- was Te'o part of the deception as well?
He says he was duped into a fake online and phone relationship and he's humiliated.
Regardless of what you believe in this case, that Manti was lied to or that he was part of the lie, somebody was dishonest here.
What could possibly be the motivation behind such a fabrication?
If Te'o is in fact the victim here, as Notre Dame maintains, clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Casper says the perpetrator could have been a manipulator motivated by revenge or jealousy.
"It would have to be someone who wanted very much to hurt this individual, was very malicious in a plan to try and discredit him, take him down, make him vulnerable," said Casper.
If the Heisman Trophy runner up was the one behind the hoax, Casper says it may be the result of a social insecurity and need for sympathy.
"Why he would need this kind of attention, psychologically it would be a mystery. It would suggest some deeper darker issues," she said.
Residents in Te'o's hometown, are backing the linebacker.
"And we just know that Manti will tell the truth, and we know that his family feels very badly," said Kela Miller.
Dr. Casper says whether Te'o was the liar or the lied to, this scandal calls into question his judgment and will affect his future.