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In four short months, Manti Te’o has ridden an emotional roller coaster that took its first deep dive with the death of his grandmother followed hours later by the ostensible passing of a girlfriend, who seems never to have existed.
It peaked with him finishing as runner-up for the Heisman Trophy then hit a new low with the revelation that the girlfriend was an apparent “catfish,” an Internet hoax. Te’o’s story broke, making his embarrassment complete.
Followers reply with tweets of condolences after “girlfriend” Lennay Kekua’s apparent death.
September 16: Te’o tweets, “I know you’re there” with a picture of him pointing to the sky.
September 23: Te’o tweets a link to a picture of two beams of light descending on him during the Michigan game and writes: This brought tears to my eyes! The two beams of light! My guardian angels!!! I miss you!!
December 6: Te’o receives a phone call while at an awards show from the phone number of his dead girlfriend. The woman says she’s not dead.
December 8: Te’o goes to the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York, where he finishes as runner-up to Johnny Manziel.
Before December 25: A person using that number continues to call, but Te’o does not answer.
Christmas break: Te’o discusses the situation with his parents.
December 26: Te’o calls Head Coach Brian Kelly and Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco and informs them of the situation.
December 27: Te’o meets with athletics director Jack Swarbrick and they discuss the situation.
After December 27: The University hires a nationally known investigative firm to look into the matter.
January 4: The private investigators give Notre Dame their report.
January 5: Swarbrick meets with the Te’o’s family.
January 7: Te’o plays in the national championship game.
January 16: Deadspin publishes a story saying Te’o’s story about the death of a girlfriend is a hoax.
Notre Dame says Te’o has been the victim of an “elaborate hoax” and a “sick joke.”