"I don't want to confuse this at all," Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said during a press conference on Wednesday night. "Manti Te'o was the victim of this scam."
Swarbrick spoke at length about the hoax involving Manti Te'o uncovered by Deadspin, explaining the university's handling of the matter and involvement in a private investigation. He also spoke highly of Te'o just hours after a shocking Deadspin report revealed the star linebacker's late girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, whose reported death from leukemia during Notre Dame's undefeated regular season was a prominent story line, never existed.
"Nothing about what I've learned has shaken my faith in Manti Te'o one iota," Swarbrick said during the press conference.
WATCH A PORTION OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ABOVE
As Notre Dame had previously revealed in a written statement, Swarbrick indicated that Te'o first approached the university about the mystery surrounding his girlfriend on Dec. 26, 2012. According to Swarbrick, Te'o approached the university after he received a phone call from the phone number associated with Kekua, who had supposedly died in September. The voice at the other end of the call was the one he had associated with his late girlfriend.
Te'o also informed Swarbrick that the relationship had been exclusively online and over the telephone, even though the linebacker had previously indicated that he had "met" her in anecdotes about the relationship.
Despite a source telling Deadspin that he was "80 percent sure" the Te'o was involved in the fraud, Swarbrick stood by the linebacker.
CLICK HERE to read full Deadspin report.
"The single most trusting human being that I have ever met, will never be able to trust again," said Swarbrick as he became visibly emotional as he took questions.
Shortly after the Deadspin report rocked the college football community, Notre Dame issued a brief statement via Facebook, stating that "Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax."
CLICK HERE to read ND statement.
That statement from the university was quickly followed by a statement to ESPN from the star linebacker, indicating that he "was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies."
CLICK HERE to read Te'o statement.
At 8 p.m. EST, Swarbrick then convened a press conference in South Bend. He indicated that Te'o will address the media at some point in the near future but was unsure when that would occur.