Notre Dame: Manti Te’o victim of a hoax

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There are bizarre stories, then there’s, well, this.

Back in mid-September it was reported that the grandmother and girlfriend of Notre Dame All-American Manti Te’o had died within hours of each other, the latter (Lennay Kekua) after a courageous battle with leukemia.  As the Irish continued what would be a stunning run to the BCS championship game, Te’o’s triumph over personal tragedy became an inspirational theme woven into the fabric of the 2012 college football season.

It was by all accounts heartbreaking and inspirational and, according to Deadspin.com, it was also a lie.

In a lengthy piece published by the website Tuesday, Deadspin declares that “Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax.”  While it would be impossible to even begin to summarize the baffling story, this paragraph fairly encapsulates what the website is claiming:

There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te’o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te’o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te’o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te’o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te’o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te’o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest.

It’s a fascinatingly disturbing read, and we strongly urge you to plow through the lengthy piece in its entirety HERE.  It’s not, however, the end of the story.  Far from it, in fact.

In response to Deadspin‘s story, Notre Dame released a statement claiming that, in essence, Te’o was the victim of a hoax:

On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.

Te’o has not issued a statement on the story, which is rapidly becoming one of the most baffling and head-scratching stories of the year.

UPDATED 6:32 p.m. ET: Subsequent to the initial posting, Te’o has released a statement addressing this situation as well.  Here it is, in its entirety.

“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.

“To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

“It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.

“I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

“In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

“Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I’m looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.”

Ryan Day expected to turn down NFL wooing, stay at Ohio State

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It appears Urban Meyer‘s coaching staff at Ohio State will (for now) remain intact after all.

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Ryan Day was considering leaving his job as Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach to join former OSU assistant and newly-minted NFL head coach Mike Vrabel as the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans.  A day later, one report has Day eschewing the NFL opportunity and remaining with Meyer and the Buckeyes.

Day just completed his first season with the Buckeyes, serving as both co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  He has been a solo coordinator twice in his coaching career — at Temple in 2012 and then in 2013-14 at Boston College.

Prior to coming to OSU, Day was the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 and spent the 2015 season in the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Those were his first two stints at the NFL level.

Given that OSU will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2018, keeping Day on the staff is a significant win for Meyer’s program.

Mark Dantonio brings Don Treadwell back to Michigan State staff

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Mark Dantonio has turned to an old coaching friend to fill a hole on his Michigan State coaching staff.

The football program announced Monday that Don Treadwell has been hired by the Spartans as the football program’s 10th assistant.  As for his duties, the school’s release states that “Treadwell will assist coaching defensive backs and special teams while also helping as an offensive consultant.”  On top of that, he will hold the newly-created title of freshman head coach, a role that will see the veteran work with “first-year players in their growth and development both on and off the field.”

Treadwell was Dantonio’s offensive coordinator at MSU from 2007-10 after serving in the same capacity for the head coach at Cincinnati from 2004-06.  He also had another stint with the Spartans, as wide receivers coach from 2000-02.  Dantonio was on that staff in 2000 as defensive backs coach.

The two also worked on the same staff together at Youngstown State in the eighties.

“He has a wealth of football knowledge, including head coaching experience, so he really understands the big picture of everything that is going on within the program,” Dantonio said in a statement. “Don was a part of our first Big Ten Championship and double-digit win season in 2010 and was the person in charge during my absence that year. He did an absolutely incredible job leading the program when I was gone.

“As a person, he’s extremely loyal and has a strong sense of integrity and morals. He understands the Spartan values that we have in our program from having been here before and knowing our staff.”

Treadwell left MSU after the 2010 season to take over as the head coach at Miami of Ohio.  He was fired after the fifth game of his third season, compiling an 8-21 record during his time at his alma mater.

The past four seasons, Treadwell was on the staff at Kent State.  He was the running backs coach in 2014 and coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015-17 for the Golden Flashes.

NC State lines up home-and-homes with BYU, USF, La Tech

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NC State has lined up a series of home-and-homes with three future opponents, though, as of this writing, the Pack haven’t talked about any of them.

Their opponents have, though.

First up is South Florida. The Wolfpack and Bulls have inked a 2-game series calling for USF to visit Raleigh on Sept. 2, 2021 and NC State to visit Tampa on Sept. 14, 2024.

“We are excited to add N.C. State, a high-quality program that has played in four straight bowl games, to our football schedule,” USF AD Mark Harlan said in a statement. “Bulls football is sustaining a run of tremendous success and we will continue to seek exciting, top-level opponents to challenge during the non-conference season and bring to Raymond James Stadium.”

The two sides have met three times previously, with NC State holding a 2-1 edge and a win in their last meeting, a 49-17 blowout in 2014 in Tampa.

Next up is Louisiana Tech. NC State will actually play three future games with the Bulldogs, also beginning in 2021. NC State will host Louisiana Tech on Oct. 2, 2021 and Sept. 7, 2024, and visit Ruston, La., on Sept. 6, 2025. The Wolfpack and Bulldogs have played just once previously, a 40-14 NC State win to open the 2013 season.

Finally, NC State has also agreed to a home-and-home with BYU, calling for BYU to visit Raleigh on Nov. 9, 2024, and NC State to return the favor on Aug. 29, 2030.

NC State and BYU have never played previously.

The 2030 game is not the furthest out game on the NC State schedule. As per the Irish’s agreement with the ACC, NC State is slated for a TBD visit to Notre Dame at some point in the year 2037. The freshmen in that game have yet to be born.

Former Florida K Eddy Pineiro granted community service award after breaking up domestic violence incident

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Eddy Pineiro had a good fall on the field, but nothing topped an act of selflessness he displayed during the middle of an October night.

According to a certificate given to him by the Gainesville Police Department, Pineiro and his father, Eddy Pineiro, Sr., were awoken in the wee hours of Oct. 15, 2017, to the sounds of a violent struggle between a man and a woman. Pineiro, Jr., shouted to his father, and the two of them were able to subdue the attacker, allowing the victim to escape.

On October 15th 2017 at 2:21 AM, dispatch advised a male was chasing a female in the area of 1700 SW 37th Street. The investigation concluded that the female was being a victim of dating violence by her boyfriend. She was thrown to the ground, violently punched and choked. Her screams to anyone to help awoke Eddy Pineiro Jr. Eddy looked outside and witnessed the violent crime. Without visitation, he yelled to his father, who was visiting from Miami, and told him he was going to help her. They both ran down three flights of stairs and across the property to intervene. As they were approaching, the female was able to escape the grasp of her attacker and flee. The suspect gave chase and was able to catch her. At the this same time, Eddy Pineiro Jr. caught up and was able to grab the attacker off of the victim. This gave the victim a chance to leave the area without further violence to her. Due to Eddy Pineiro Jr. and Eddy Pineiro Sr.’s selfless acts and extreme bravery, the victim was saved from possible severe injuries or even death. Eddy Pineiro Jr. continued to help with the case and as a result, the suspect is serving jail time for his actions. They are both hereby awarded the Police Service Award.

Pineiro declared for the NFL draft after a junior season in which he drilled 17-of-18 field goals and 24-of-26 extra points. Surely some anonymous scout will turn the fact that Pineiro didn’t have handcuffs to apprehend the attacker himself into a slight against him.