Notre Dame AD encouraging Te'o to speak publicly

Caption
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2013, file photo, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o answers a question during media day for the BCS national championship NCAA college football game in Miami. The wrenching story of Te'o's girlfriend dying of leukemia _ a loss he said inspired him to play his best all the way to the BCS championship _ was dismissed by the school Wednesday, Jan. 16, as a hoax perpetrated against the linebacker. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says the school has encouraged linebacker Manti Te'o to speak publicly — and soon — about being the victim of a hoax involving a dead girlfriend who never existed.

Swarbrick said during the taping of his weekly radio show, which airs regionally on Saturday but was posted online as a podcast on Friday, that Te'o has to explain exactly how he was duped into an online relationship with a woman whose "death" was then faked by the perpetrators of the hoax.

"I don't have any specific knowledge as to how and when, but I can't fathom a circumstance where it doesn't (happen). I sort of share everybody's view that it has to happen. We are certainly encouraging it to happen. We think it's important and we'd like to see it happen sooner rather than later," Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick added that before Deadspin.com broke the news with a lengthy report on Wednesday, Te'o and his family had planned to go public with the story Monday.

"Sometimes the best laid plans don't quite work, and this was an example of that. Because the family lost the opportunity in some ways to control the story," he said.

He said the university doesn't have anything more to add.

"It is in the Te'o family's court," he said. "We are very much encouraging them. I hope by the time people are listening to this they have made themselves available to explain and to take questions, because we think that's in everybody's interest. It's certainly our expectation at Notre Dame that they would do that."

Swarbrick said again he is confident Te'o is the victim and did not back away from the strong support he gave the All-American during a news conference Wednesday night, when the AD said an investigation done by a firm hired by the school turned up evidence that supports Te'o's claim he was not involved.

Swarbrick said he will continue to believe that until given "compelling evidence to the contrary."

He said he understands why some people are skeptical about Te'o's story.

"They have every right to say that," Swarbrick said "Now I have some more information than they have. But they have every right to say that. I don't feel any sort of ill will toward that position. If I was on the outside of this presented with the only facts I have at this point — and importantly at the time we're recording this Manti has yet to speak publicly — I think that skepticism is easy to understand. I just ask those people to apply the same skepticism to everything about this.

"I have no doubt the perpetrators have a story they will yet spin about what went on here. I hope skepticism also greets that when they're articulating what that is."

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