UPDATE 1-Football star Te’o's girlfriend and her death a hoax, U.S. college says
(Adds details from Notre Dame athletic director)
Jan 16 (Reuters) – Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o, whose on-field excellence after his grandmother and online girlfriend purportedly died made him a hero in the sports media, was the victim of a hoax because the girl never existed, the university said on Wednesday.
The girlfriend, who called herself Lennay Kekua and claimed to be a Stanford graduate, was merely an online persona who “ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia,” university spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement.
Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said the university learned of the hoax from Te’o on Dec. 26. He answered questions forthrightly and private investigators uncovered several things that pointed to Te’o being a victim…