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Katie Couric to interview Manti Te'o

1/22/2013 - College Football
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Manti Te'o Speaks

Jeremy Schaap reacts to Manti Te'o interview.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o will be
interviewed by Katie Couric, the first on-camera interview given by
the All-American since news broke about the dead girlfriend hoax.

Te'o and his parents will appear on Couric's syndicated daytime
talk show Thursday. ABC News announced the interview Sunday, but
gave no details as to when it will take place and where.

Te'o gave an off-camera interview with ESPN on Friday night. He
insists he was the victim of the hoax, not a participant. The
Heisman Trophy runner-up said he had an online romance with a woman
he never met and in September was informed that the woman died from
leukemia.

Te'o told ESPN that the person suspected of being the mastermind
of the hoax has contacted him and apologized.

Couric, now a special correspondent for ABC News, formerly
worked as the anchor for the CBS Evening News and was a co-host of
NBC's Today Show.

A spokesman for Te'o, Matthew Hiltzik, told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Sunday that Te'o is "grateful and appreciative of all the support he's gotten from people who say they believe in him.

"He's also grateful for the many other people who have come forward, through social media and personal contacts, to say they were victims of similar hoaxes. Total strangers have reached out to him to say they've been through similar experiences."

The strange tale of Te'o apparently being duped by an elaborate
hoax, pulled off by a California man, has put the Heisman Trophy
finalist in national headlines - from the Wall Street Journal to
TMZ.

The man he said apologized to him for pulling the scam,
22-year-old Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, has not spoken publicly. He and his
family have decline the AP's numerous requests for interviews.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Te'o reached
out to his coaches and university officials on Dec. 26, and the
school commissioned an investigation that he said confirmed Te'o
was not involved in the hoax. The school received the findings of
the investigation on Jan. 4, three days before Notre Dame played
Alabama in the BCS title game.

A Notre Dame spokesman said some school administrators thought
they should release what they knew about what the hoax as soon as
they became aware of it, but the university ultimately decided to
let Te'o and his family be first to go public with the story.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown told the South Bend (Ind.)
Tribune in a story published Sunday that university officials
decided disclosing the information about the hoax before the BCS
championship in Miami would not be in the best interest of the
teams or the individuals involved.

The hoax about Te'os dead girlfriend became public Wednesday
when it was reported by Deadspin.com. Swarbrick held a news
conference later that day to discuss what Notre Dame knew, and gave
full support to Te'o. Later, Swarbrick said the family had intended
to speak publicly about the hoax Jan. 21.

Brown said the university was "utterly stunned" when Te'o
informed them about details of the hoax on Dec. 26 and had a
"difficult time getting our arms around it."

Te'o met with Swarbrick for nearly two hours on Dec. 27 after
returning to campus to give a full account of his relationship with
the online woman he knew as Lennay Kekua, and then again the next
day, Brown said.

How the university should proceed was the topic of discussions
between top administrators for a week, Brown said.

The university hired outside investigators on Dec. 29.

"We asked them to focus on any threats to the university or its
reputation, by providing more information about the so-called Kekua
family that might help us understand motives, or whether they might
have had any contact with others at Notre Dame," said Brown, who
declined to name the firm.

The investigators were in touch the next day, telling the
university they could find no evidence of a Lennay Kekua or any of
the relatives she had told Te'o about in several "sophisticated
databases" the firm used. Brown said the investigators concluded
"the entire family was fictitious, because of their inability to
find them, and that the investigation should turn to trying to
identify the woman who had been talking to Manti."

Investigators determined the address the woman had given Te'o
was real, with a house there that belonged to members of a family
named Tuiasosopo, including Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Brown said the investigators hired by Notre Dame didn't try to
reach Tuiasosopo or his relatives.

The university officials told the newspaper the investigators
did not examine cellphone records, emails or other electronic
communication to determine the length or extent of Te'o's
communication over the past few years with the person claiming to
be Kekua, nor did the university ask Te'o to take a lie detector
test.

The school informed Teo's parents, Brian and Ottilia, about the
investigation results on Jan. 5.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.