Two days after Deadspin reported that Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend of Notre Dame All-American Manti Te’o who supposedly passed away last September, was a hoax, Te’o broke his silence to ESPN in a two and a half hour off-camera interview.
As one would imagine, Te’o denied playing any sort of role in the hoax. Here are highlights of what ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap has reported so far:
- Te’o says he never had any part in the hoax and never made anything up to help his Heisman candidacy.
- Te’o did, however, say he lied to his father about having met Kekua. Te’o confessed that he “kind of catered [his] stories” about Kekua to suggest that they had met.
- Te’o claimed “Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing.” When asked who they were, Te’o replied “I don’t know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah’s one.”
- Te’o says he was never asked for money, but Kekua once requested his checking account number to send him money. Te’o did not give her the number.
- Apparently confirming a CBSSports report released earlier Friday evening, Te’o said he tried to speak with Kekua via Skype and Facetime on several occasions, but that he only saw a “black box” on the other end.
- Te’o said that he began contact with Kekua on Facebook his freshman year. Things “got serious” on April 28, the day he was told she’d been in a car crash. The relationship is described by Te’o as being intermittent.
- When asked why he never visited Kekua in the hospital, Te’o replied “It never really crossed my mind. I don’t know. I was in school.”
- Te’o claims he and Kekua got in an argument when she called him after his grandmother passed away. “She was saying, ‘You know, I’m trying to be here for you.’ I didn’t want to be bothered. I wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to be by myself. Last thing she told me was ‘Just know I love you.’ “
- Te’o told ESPN that, until two days ago, he was not fully convinced Kekua didn’t exist. That’s when Te’o said he received an apology from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man believed to be behind the hoax and Kekua’s cousin, according to Te’o. (A note: Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in Wednesday’s press conference that Te’o was the victim of a hoax and that the university handed the information over to a PI firm that returned a report on Jan. 4.)
- According to Te’o, a group of people related to Tuiasosopo showed up at Notre Dame’s team hotel for the BCS National championship game.
- The first time Te’o said he met Tuiasosopo was after Notre Dame beat USC on Nov. 24. Deadspin reported that Te’o and Tuiasosopo “definitely knew each other” but how was unclear.
There is also an interesting read from the USA Today which was published late Friday night. The paper reports that the cousin of Tuiasosopo faced many parallels in her life similar to Kekua, including a battle with leukemia.
Earlier today, “Outside the Lines” spoke with three people who believed Tuiasosopo was in fact orchestrating a hoax on Te’o, with one person claiming he confessed to the act to her in December. Later in the afternoon, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Kekua (or, a voice speaking as Kekua) told Te’o via telephone on Dec. 6 during the college football awards show that she had faked her death to hide from drug dealers.
It appears the reports of the demise of Baylor’s president are, at least for now, premature.
Tuesday morning the college football world awoke to the news that BU was expected to remove Ken Starr as the university’s president before the end of the month, if not sooner. The latter seemed to come to fruition as, a short time after HornsDigest.com released that report, the recruiting website updated to state that the school’s Board of Regents had indeed fired Starr.
Starr, in his sixth year as president, had been mentioned in a damning Outside the Lines report earlier this month as having been aware of at least one instance of assault involving a Bears football player and did nothing.
A short time after the Scout.com report surfaced this morning, Baylor released a statement in which Starr is not mentioned specifically, but the timeline for a public response to an independent report on the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving football players was detailed.
The Baylor Board of Regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations. We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the university will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.
Finally, a break has gone Utah’s Evan Moeai‘s way.
On the very first play from scrimmage during the 2014 season opener, Moeai sustained what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury. A year later, in the 2015 opener, the tight end went down with yet another season-ending injury.
According to the Deseret News, Moeai posted on his private Instagram account that he has received a fifth season of eligibility from the NCAA. The Utes have yet to confirm the development, although it’s one that’s been expected.
Moeai began his collegiate career at the JUCO level, then played in three games during his first season with the Utes in 2013. He, obviously, played in one game each of the last two seasons.
Moeai caught one pass for five yards in 2015 before he went down with his second season-ending injury.
Less than two weeks after leaving Ohio State, Grant Schmidt has a new college football home — and he won’t even have to leave the state to get there.
Citing university sources, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Schmidt will continue his collegiate playing career at Cincinnati. The offensive lineman had indicated earlier this month that the Bearcats would be his landing spot.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Schmidt will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.
A three-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class, 247Sports.com rated Schmidt as the No. 52 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of South Dakota. Schmidt was the first player from that state to sign with the Buckeyes, but he failed to become the first to play in a game as he didn’t see the field during his brief stint in Columbus.
Schmidt’s mid-May move was believed to be related to a logjam along the offensive line and his failure to make a dent on the depth chart during spring practice.
Here’s to guessing that, right or wrong, Jim Mora won’t be pleased with his young quarterback’s latest social media foray.
Late last week, the UCLA head coach used the public airwaves to help “guide” Josh Rosen down the straight and narrow. Specifically, in regards to the Freshman All-American infamous “f**k Trump” cap flap this offseason, Mora stated that the rising sophomore was “heading towards Johnny Manziel” territory with stunts like that.
Hyperbole? Yes. But Rosen is seemingly hellbent on giving Mora further reason to continue down his odd “Money Manziel” path.
Shortly after it was reported that UCLA was set to sign a record-breaking $280 million apparel deal with Under Armour, Rosen took to social media to offer up some snark on the financial windfall that will line the pockets of the athletic department — and which the student-athletes won’t get a sniff.
(The tweet above was retweeted on Rosen’s personal Twitter account)
Coming from a kid who had a hot tub in his dorm his freshman season and whose parents graduated from Ivy League schools — one’s a surgeon — it might not be the actual money but the principle that has Rosen feeling feisty. Whether his head coach gets just as feisty on his own JFF moral high ground in return remains to be seen.