Turns out Notre Dame was informed of the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax at the end of December, prior to the BCS National Championship game:
Notre Dame has confirmed the reported death of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend during the football season was a hoax.
According to university spokesman Dennis Brown, “On December 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.”
How can Te’o be a victim of a hoax he helped to perpetuate? For example, here’s the closing paragraph of a NYT piece on Notre Dame’s win over USC:
It was suggested to Te’o that in the shadows of the Hollywood sign, he had produced the perfect script. Not quite, he said. To have his grandmother and girlfriend around to share in the celebration, “would have been a better script,” Te’o said, “but other than that, I don’t think you can write a better one.”
Yeah, this isn’t going away.