Notre Dame Stands By Star Football Player Manti Te’o — And Abandons Any Sense Of Ethics

200px-Mantiteo2010Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick has given a tearful account of how he has determined that his football star Manti Te’o was a victim of being “catfishes” in mourning the death of a girlfriend who never in fact existed. I must confess an insurmountable level of skepticism regarding Te’o’s account, but I am more concerned not with his veracity (which seem entirely gone) but with the ethics of Notre Dame. Even without considering the Catholic values of the university, the response of the University to this matter is predictable and depressing given the known facts. We have previously discussed how football programs warp the academic mission and ethics of universities. This appears to be a towering example of the corrosive effect of such programs. Notre Dame admitted that it was made aware of the hoax but said nothing as reporters gushed over the bravery of Te’o in facing the death of the “love of his life.” Yet, the university insists that it had no obligation to tell the truth during the season while Te’o was being considered for the Heisman Trophy. Moreover, it concluded that Te’o had no ethical obligation to come forward immediately with the truth — even if we accept that he did not know that the “love of his life” did not exist.

Swarbrick’s position forgiving Te’o (and the university) of responsibility is most notable not only in the suspending of any notion of logic but any obligation of ethics. Let’s assume for a moment that Te’o never knew that his girlfriend did not exist despite the fact that he could never have actually met her. Indeed, while reporting that she died of cancer, he never appears to have gone to “the love of his life” in person. The university admits that he told them during the season that it was a hoax. Yet, he and Notre Dame remained silent as published accounts discussed how he met her at a football game and poured sympathy on his loss and that of his grandmother on the same day. It was the biggest personal story in the college football season. It was a story that clearly would have helped in the competition for the Heisman Trophy — a huge benefit for both the player and the school. This is not some collateral fact or something subject to interpretation. It was the core of a national sensational story and it was entirely untrue.

Yet Swarbrick expressed only shock of the “casual cruelty” shown by the hoaxsters saying “they enjoyed the joke.” Perhaps, but Notre Dame enjoyed the attention generated by the story –after they learned it was a lie.

Notre Dame emphasizes that students must meet high ethical standards as part of their education.

However, when the student is your football star, the University appears to believe that failing to come forward to admit the truth is not an unethical act for either the student or university officials. Notably, the student gave interviews of how his girlfriend was the most beautiful person he “ever met” and not just “her physical beauty.” His interviews fueled a frenzy among reporters who did countless pieces on the terrible loss. The tearful account of Swarbrick brushed over the period where he admits that the university knew the truth and did nothing. Swarbricks’ insistence that they made the decision that this was Te’o “story to be told.” That is highly convenient for the university and notably jettisons any responsibility to stop the lie from being repeated and replicated.

As an academic, I view the position of the university to be reprehensible and devoid of any ethical content. It tells students that there is no obligation to come forward when you know of such a falsity and that there is no institutional or personal responsibility for acts of omission. This is not simply a betrayal of Catholic value it is a betrayal of core academic values in my view.

What do you think?

Source: ABC

59 thoughts on “Notre Dame Stands By Star Football Player Manti Te’o — And Abandons Any Sense Of Ethics

  1. After what we have learned of the Church and its lies about pedophilia, these lies are rather small beer. And after Penn State, hardly a “towering example of the corrosive effect of such programs”. I find this story mildly amusing in its absurdity, and yet another reason not to support “big time” (more like big con) college athletics.

  2. brewonsouthu:

    “ND’s AD Swarbrick Duped the Press for Three Weeks


    If you consider Declin Sulivan’s untimely death in that scissor lift, I’d say more like two years. Recall the “unremarkable weather” commnet as 50 mile an hour winds toppled the structure crushing the 20-year-old junior.

  3. I suspect the whole fake girlfriend was meant to be a “beard” for Te’o which just got out of hand. It would have given him a non-Homo excuse to avoid girls at Notre Dame. In support of my theory I point to the thousands of photos on-line where Te’o can be seen wearing skin-tight gold lame capri pants.

  4. Upon discovering it was a hoax Notre Dame could have met it’s burden of behaving in a manner consistent with Catholic tradition by transferring Te’o to Boston College.

  5. JT nails this story. I’m need to read more to really understand what was going on and who knew what and when. But, the admitted fact that Teo and ND knew this whole thing was a lie weeks before it came out but kept silent screams that they were happy to let the lie stand and for media to keep telling the story because it served Teo’s and ND’s interests. I’d think knowingly letting the media tell a false story for your benefit when you promoted the story and it’s based on your falsehoods (even if you didn’t know they were false, which I’m far from yet convinced is the case), is wrong.

    If you are not a football fan, it is difficult to really get how big the Heisman is. I don’t remember the exact number, but have read business estimates that it is worth many tens, if not over 100, million to a university in marketing. Applications to a university skyrocket after winning a Heisman. That means the university can be more selective, get better students, gain more prestige, and charge higher tuition. Recruiting becomes much easier for the football coach and getting better players into the program leads to better on field results in following years. Obviously,for the player it is not only the highest collegiate football honor but it is worth millions in marketing (see RG3). It really cannot be emphasized how big winning a Heisman is to the player, football program, and university.

  6. I didn’t follow college football this year and the first I heard of the story was yesterday when everything hit the fan. I’m glad I wasn’t paying attention through the season. Notre Dame’s response is very sad, and I agree with Jonathan that is it a betrayal of what I have always considered core academic values.

  7. The ND administration’s statements to date are rather like Jefferey Dahmer giving a lecture on the benefits of vegetarianism.

  8. Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 10:53 AM EST

    Notre Dame’s double standard

    Manti Te’o’s bizarre soap opera moves the school’s president to tears, while Lizzy Seeberg’s suicide is ignored

    By Irin Carmon

    “Dave Zirin, who has long called for the Notre Dame football program to be shut down as irredeemably corrupt, pointed out that the university had hired a private investigator for the Te’o case but not the numerous other allegations of wrongdoing by players. Zirin said of the school’s athletic director, “It says so much that Te’o’s bizarre soap opera has moved [Jack] Swarbrick to openly weeping but he hasn’t spared one tear, let alone held one press conference, for Lizzy Seeberg … The problem at Notre Dame is not just football players without a compass; it’s the adults without a conscience.” We live in a country that officially condemns rape and sexual assault but when confronted with the real possibility of it, rarely strays from denial and excuses. That’s the biggest scam of all.”


    Why I won’t be cheering for old Notre Dame

    Well, since you asked — and many of my friends have, some more than once — no, I will not be cheering for my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to win big-time college football’s championship on Jan. 7. What’s really surprising me are those who believe as I do that two players on the team have committed serious criminal acts – sexual assault in one case, and rape in another — but assumed that I’d support the team anyway, just as they are.

    “Aren’t you just a little bit excited?” one asked the other day. There are plenty of good guys on the team, too, I’m repeatedly told. And oh, that Manti Te’o is inspiring. I don’t doubt it. But as a thought exercise, how many predators would have to be on the team before you’d no longer feel like cheering?

    Sexual violations of all kinds happen on every campus, I know, and neither man will ever be found guilty in court; one of the victims is dead and the other, according to the Notre Dame student who drove her to the ER afterward, in February 2011, decided to keep her mouth shut at least in part because she’d seen what happened to the first woman. Neither player has ever even been named, and won’t be here, either, since neither was charged with a crime.

    The Department of Education’s civil rights office is well aware of the second case, though; in fact, federal investigators were on campus when it occurred, as part of a seven-month probe into the way Notre Dame handles such reports. And as a result, with its Title IX funding on the line, the university marked the 40th anniversary of coeducation in 2012 by changing the way it investigates sexual assault for the second time in two years.

    Lizzy Seeberg at a tailgate party with her father, brother and friends on Sept. 4, 2010, several days after accusing a Notre Dame football player of sexual assault. (Courtesy of the Seeberg family.)

    I’ve spent months researching these cases and written thousands of words in the National Catholic Reporter about the whole shameful situation, some of which you’ve likely heard about: Two years ago, Lizzy Seeberg, a 19-year-old freshman at Saint Mary’s College, across the street from Notre Dame, committed suicide after accusing an ND football player of sexually assaulting her. The friend Lizzy told immediately afterward said she was crying so hard she was having trouble breathing.

    Yet after Lizzy went to the police, a friend of the player’s sent her a series of texts that frightened her as much as anything that had happened in the player’s dorm room. “Don’t do anything you would regret,” one of them said. “Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea.”

    At the time of her death, 10 days after reporting the attack to campus police, who have jurisdiction for even the most serious crimes on school property, investigators still had not interviewed the accused. It took them five more days after she died to get around to that, though they investigated Lizzy herself quite thoroughly, even debriefing a former roommate at another school with whom she’d clashed.

    Six months later — after the story had become national news — Notre Dame did convene a closed-door disciplinary hearing. The player testified that until he actually met with police, he hadn’t even known why they wanted to speak to him — though his buddy who’d warned Lizzy not to mess with Notre Dame football had spoken to investigators 13 days earlier. He was found “not responsible,” and never sat out a game.

    My family celebrating with my dad, John Henneberger, Notre Dame Class of ’44, on his birthday, the same day the above photo of Lizzy Seeberg was taken, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010.

    A few months later, a resident assistant in a Notre Dame dorm drove a freshman to the hospital for a rape exam after receiving an S.O.S. call. “She said she’d been raped by a member of the football team at a party off campus,” the R.A. told me. I also spoke to the R.A.’s parents, who met the young woman that same night, when their daughter brought her to their home after leaving the hospital. They said they saw — and reported to athletic officials — a hailstorm of texts from other players, warning the young woman not to report what had happened: “They were trying to silence this girl,” the R.A.’s father told me. And did; no criminal complaint was ever filed.

    It’s not only what I believe went on at that off-campus party, or in the room of the player Lizzy accused, that makes it impossible for me to support the team, though that would be enough. The problem goes deeper than that, and higher, because the man Lizzy accused had a history of behavior that should have kept him from being recruited in the first place. And as bad in my book as the actions of those young men was the determination of the considerably older men who run N.D. to keep those players on the team in an effort to win some football games.

    Among those being congratulated for our return to gridiron glory is ND’s president, Rev. John Jenkins, who refused to meet with the Seeberg family on advice of counsel, and other school officials who’ve whispered misleadingly in many ears, mine included, in an attempt to protect the school’s brand by smearing a dead 19-year-old.

    (Yes, Lizzy suffered from depression, but according to her therapists was neither “unstable” nor a teller of tales. No, she had never before accused anyone of such a thing. And no, she had never before attempted suicide.)

    At first, officials said privacy laws prevented them from responding. But after some criticism, Jenkins told the South Bend Tribune he’d intentionally kept himself free of any in-depth knowledge of the case, yet was sure it had been handled appropriately.

    The school’s “proof” that Lizzy lied is that she said the player stopped attacking her after receiving a call or a text. Phone records contradict that, showing that it was the player who called a friend rather than the other way around. Case closed, right? Sure, if you don’t think someone in the middle of both a physical and an anxiety attack could possibly be mistaken about whether her assailant stopped to make a call, or take one.

    Joanne Archambault, who ran the San Diego police department’s special victims unit for 10 years and trains cops around the country, told me for my NCR story that because of the way the brain processes information in traumatic situations, victims almost always get some details wrong. Only the phony reports are perfect.

    I have no trouble understanding the many Notre Dame fans who don’t know the facts of these cases. Or even those who tell themselves well, maybe, but innocent until proven guilty, right? Lucky them, I say.

    The alums who mystify me are those who know the real story, believe it, and are giddy still over a winning season that’s at least in part the result of wrong behavior. I did myself a favor recently and unsubscribed from the alumni e-mails touting the school’s good works and asking, “What would you fight for?” (Football?)

    My husband says he continues to be amazed by the depths of my disillusionment; had I really thought they were so much better than this? You bet I did; in fact, Notre Dame isn’t Notre Dame if it isn’t, which might explain why school officials maintain to this day that they’ve done nothing wrong, have never besmirched Miss Seeberg’s memory, and have no idea how so many fans think they know so much about her. (Here’s how: A longtime ND donor I interviewed said a top university official told him straight up that Lizzy had been sexually aggressive with the player rather than the other way around: “She was all over the boy.”)

    Though 13 Seebergs went to Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s before Lizzy, her family is sitting this season out, of course. Yet in their Chicago suburb, football fever runs so high that they, too, regularly field queries from friends about whether they’re excited for the Irish.

    “We just say ‘No, not too excited, really not a big fan any longer,’ ” says Lizzy’s father, Tom Seeberg, who’s remarkably indifferent to the team’s success: “When tragedy rocks you to your core, all the little stuff is stripped away.” And yes, sports fans, there are people who consider football the little stuff. Since Lizzy’s death, Tom and his wife Mary have raised $280,000 in her memory, enough to open the “Lizzy House” for laypeople teaching for free in the Jesuit-run, inner-city Chicago Cristo Rey school where Lizzy volunteered.

    Lizzy’s aunt, Katie Garvey, who met her husband at ND, has come to believe that even if the facts of these cases were “blasted from every news source in the country, the average Notre Dame fan would still find a way to discount it.” Part of her is actually kind of glad for them, that “they don’t have the burden of knowing,” even if “their resistance to knowing is absolutely remarkable.”

    In South Bend, naturally, knowing is particularly burdensome: “I’ve watched almost every game this season and there’s not a single time that I don’t feel extreme anger when I see [the accused] on the field,” said Kaliegh Fields, a Saint Mary’s junior who went with Lizzy to the police station. “Once I start thinking about the people who put the school’s success in a sport over the life of a young woman, I can’t help but feel disgust. Everyone’s always saying how God’s on Notre Dame’s side,” she added. “And I think, ‘How could he be?’ “

    Melinda Henneberger is a Post political writer and anchors the paper’s She the People blog.

  10. Crying for Manti Te’o

    by Dave Zirin on January 16, 2013


    Swarbrick revealed that a private outside firm had been hired to investigate just who had perpetrated this “cruel game.” The athletic director even cried. His behavior only raises more important questions than anything Te’o will face tomorrow. Why hasn’t there been any kind of privately funded, outside investigation into the alleged sexual assaults committed by members of the football team? Why was there no private, outside investigation into Coach Brian Kelly’s role in the death of team videographer Declan Sullivan? It says so much that Te’o’s bizarre soap opera has moved Swarbrick to openly weeping but he hasn’t spared one tear, let alone held one press conference, for Lizzy Seeberg, the young woman who took her own life after coming forward with allegations that a member of the team sexually assaulted her. Swarbrick’s press conference displayed that the problem at Notre Dame is not just football players without a compass; it’s the adults without a conscience. Their credo isn’t any kind of desire for truth or justice. Instead it seems to be little more than a constant effort to protect the Fighting Irish brand, no matter who gets hurt.

    For more on Notre Dame’s moral hypocrisy, read Dave Zirin’s column about the university’s silent rape scandal.

  11. As a guide dog for a guy who is half blind, I attend church and make sure that he does not put too many coins in the plate when it goes by. As a human in a prior life I knew Latin and can understand spoken Latin. So, we have this Notre Dame farting priest at the church who is always chanting what he perceives to be Latin homilies. One goes like this: I play dominoes, you play dominoes, I can beat you at dominoes. No one seems to hear or understand his little ditty. I would not trust him to give any advice to a football player.

    What does football have to do with education at the college level? Should we not lower the rankings of those schools who spend money on this crude?
    Take State Penn for example. How many doctors do they graduate and how many doctors do the various hospitals in Pennsylvania have to import from India and elsewhere to treat all the patients? Why would a school crank out even one football player?

  12. LJC,

    I think you’re right about that… But I think you could say the same thing about all instructions… Ethics are lacking….

  13. Sick story about greed gone wild. ND had a duty to provide the truth and if it discovered it was not the truth, then it had a duty to correct the record. What would have happened to any other non-athlete student at ND who “misled” or lied to the press and to the university?
    I think the University knew about it and they were complicit in the charade, IMO. It is just another example of how athletics are king at most major colleges. Many of the scholarship athletes would not be able to be accepted at a lot of these schools because of their grades, but their athletic skills raise their GPA and ACT scores dramatically!
    I do have to echo the kudos to TomMil.

  14. It was a telepathic relationship, complete with sex. ND needs one of those telepathic mirror diverters that keeps the telepathic vibes from coming into the trailer park where the athletes live.

    What did dumb schmuck major in? Phys Ed? Latin?

    I play dominos, you play dominos, I can beat you at dominos! [sung in a priestly chant and it sounds great en mass. I mean at Mass.

    Or how is this one for the ND fight song:

    Went in dumb, come out dumb too
    hustlin round Atlanta in our alligator shoes….

    Heismann Trophy was at stake? Wow. Cant let it get out that the candidate is dumb as it gets. He gets hustled on the internet. I wonder if he sent her any money.

    Can someone send the photo of her to this blog?

    I can understand now whey they dont have any little decals on their football helmets. They want telepathic messages to come right in.

    Maybe the athletes need a guardian ad sexum. It is kind of like a guardian ad litem in litigation. The guardian ad sexum could screen their texting and phone calls. Jeso, this story could go on ad infinitum.

    Did he attend her funeral on line?

    When did he know she was a hoax? Post Heissman? Post hoaxum?

    Can you post his email address on the blog here. I got something I wanna sell him. It is a Figthing Irish Kit.

  15. From Screenplay of Horsefeathers (1932): We now take you to Wagstaff’s office at Huxley College. Wagstaff is holding a conference with two professors.

    Wagstaff: (Cracking walnuts with the telephone.) And I say to you gentlemen, this college is a failure. The trouble is, we’re neglecting football for education.

    Both professors: Exactly. The professor is right.

    Wagstaff: Oh, I’m right am I? Well, I’m not right. I’m wrong. I just said that to test you. Now I know where I’m at. I’m dealing with a couple of snakes. What I meant to say was that there’s too much football and not enough education.

    Both professors: That’s what I think.

    Wagstaff: Oh, you do, do you? Well you’re wrong again! If there was a snake here, I’d apologize. Where would this college be without football? Have we got a stadium?

    Professor One: Yes.

    Wagstaff: Have we got a college?

    Professor One: Yes.

    Wagstaff: Well, we can’t support both. Tomorrow we start tearing down the college.

    Both professors: But professor! Where will the students sleep?

    Wagstaff: Where they always sleep. In the classroom.

    Secretary: (Enters from other room.) Oh professor. The Dean of Science wants to know how soon you can see him. He says he’s tired of cooling his heels out here.

    Wagstaff: Tell him I’m cooling a couple of heals in here. (Secretary leaves. To professors,) Where were we? Oh yes. How much am I paying you fellows?

    Professor Two: Five thousand a year. But we’ve never been payed.

    Wagstaff: Well, in that case, I’ll raise you to eight thousand. And a bonus. Bring your dog around and I’ll give him a bonus too.

  16. Anonymously Yours wrote:

    Show me the money….

    It is all about the money. If the school can continue to proffer some idealistic story of one of their football players, which is a significant source of revenue for the school and the potential as Professor Turley mentions the extra advertising the school would receive as a result of a Heisman Trophy being awarded to this player it can result in additional promotion and revenue.

    Scandal on the other hand puts off customers and less revenue comes in so they have demonstrated a lack of acceptence of the misdeeds trying to avoid this cost.

    In our state at least, but I suspect there are others, the head coach of the University of Washingotn receives more in compensation than the governor. The revenue that these football teams bring in is often cited as one of the reasons for deferrence and in some cases outright violations of the law or the school’s own rules.

  17. Darren,

    I agree in principle…. However, my knowledge of two sports programs there is a lot of good ole boy look the other way…. If you bring in the dough you can do what ever you want…. Look at Texas….. Hey, the even get a bowl game…. Why?

  18. I am an academic and an extremist on this point, I do not believe colleges should have sports of any kind.

    Sports stars, prestige, and profit all create inherent conflicts of interest in ethical education; the stars become a de facto elite among the student body that get special treatment and grade fudging from professors (and not just the legal kind in subjective grades), both under pressure from peers and superiors, and voluntarily because they are fans.

    If it is impossible to get rid of sports, it would be better to tightly control the disposition of the profits. Perhaps those profits should go to the players themselves, as a part-time job for the school. We do that with grad students, pay them a salary for working (for their advisor) while still taking classes. We have even allowed senior under-grads to be paid for tutoring and lab jobs, in classes they have passed (with a 4.0).

    Paying the players to play wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, and I think they are being robbed as it stands.

  19. Tony C,

    I can agree with you…. One thing about Rice University… They chose academics over sports… There was a lot of coercion to fudge on the grading…. It finally was heard out by the alumni and overwhelming they chose academics over sports….

  20. Tony C. 1, January 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I am an academic and an extremist on this point, I do not believe colleges should have sports of any kind.
    Like AY, I can agree with you too.

    Learning is anything but boring.

    College sports is anything but useful to academics.

    Those who fail to become mental can later become physical in the professional sports arena.

    The pro teams, in all sports, have enough money to run side games as a way of detecting future professional quality atheletes.

    I would entertain Olympic Sports as an exeption to this scenario.

    Would you?

  21. @Dredd: Not really [an exception for Olympic Sports]. Students have loads of spare time to train for sports.

    Understand, I have no problem with a campus having a SAC (Student Athletic Center), tennis courts, swimming pools, weight rooms, trainers, shooting range, archery range, golf course, sand volleyball courts, all that stuff. Or team sports like soccer, football, baseball, handball.

    My problem is when the sports transform from entertainment, training and exercise for students into a source of prestige and revenue for the University. It is a conflict of interest.

    That conflict of interest remains if instead of football your volleyball or basketball team or swimming team (all Olympic sports) is #1 in the country. Can you flunk the student with the best free throw percentage in the country? Can you flunk the student that has the second fastest backstroke in the country? Because if you do, you may damage the reputation and revenue stream of the school, in the eyes of the school President, your dean, and your department head and your peers. If you are a fan of the swim team, and two points of partial credit on a wrong test answer would convert an F to a passing D, can you resist?

  22. I hit enter too early. My point was that if you even think you might HAVE to resist, then you see there is a conflict of interest.

  23. The goal of education should be teaching students to man up or woman up, I think. Regarding the football player, the proverb, there is one law for the rich and a different law for the poor applies.

  24. I agree with Tony C. This State Penn thing really pushed me over the edge on the sports thing. Frats and Sororities should go too. School is too expensive. Students should go to community college and then to a decent priced school for years three and four. Back when I was a humanoid I went the whole other way. Private college, frat boy, fun but great teachers. sports was Div III so no BS there. Then it was inexpensive on today’s costs. Less than fifteen hundred for tuition one year. Now, same place is thirty Grand. Not worth it under any circumstance now. Frat boy life was BS.

    State universities: Take a place like Mizzou. Yeah, they actually call it that now. They just moved over to the South Eastern Conference to be with the best. What does it do for the university? Rah Rah? I would encourage a student to go to UMKC in Kansas City for undergrad and law school. Not Columbia.

  25. pete,

    I thought the Kardashian homeworld was mostly wiped out after they aligned with the Dominion and declared war on Bajor and the Federation?

  26. Gene:

    I think Pete was talking about scary looking bipedal lizards that nobody can trust, not the aliens that fly around in spaceships.

  27. Darren,

    Ahhh. Thanks for that correction. I always confuse the the “C” and “K” spellings. But you have to admit, it’s an easy mistake to make.:mrgreen:


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    Monday, January 28, 2013 – 6:30pm

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  29. And now it seems that Te’o was scammed. How does that change things? Is it now ok that Te’o and ND kept quiet about the fake gf? Should Te’o’s chances at the Heisman be jeopardized by exposure of the fake gf who he really thought was real?

    Such practical jokes are not funny. They mess with people’s lives.

  30. Suppose, as seems most plausible, that Te’o was and is GAY. He needed a phony girlfriend to fit in. Suppose Notre Dame’s AD knew or suspected that Te’o was and is GAY. What would have been the ethical course for the AD? Of course, I do not believe that most of the people associated with making money through college sports even can spell the word ‘ETHICAL” – let alone follow the ethical course. College football is a big entertainment BUSINESS. Most of the players are pawns. They may suffer life=long injuries – including concussions. Only a few can hope to cash in themselves by getting to “the next level.”

  31. @Yvonne: The ethical course of action for Notre Dame would be to

    a) do nothing, the sex life of their students is none of their business,
    b) if the student confessed to lying to the public, insist upon making that public as soon as possible. They could have done that with some sensitivity and simultaneously with announcing counseling for the student as a condition for remaining on their football team.

    For example, “It has come to our attention that one of our student players, for his own personal reasons, lied to others about his personal life. When those lies became amplified by the media, the student became enmeshed in an escalating spiral of covering lies. The student came to us and asked us for help on his own, and that is help we will provide in the form of professional psychological counseling. The student has agreed to this counseling, as a condition of remaining on the team. The original lie was to invent a fictional girlfriend, the escalation of cover lies culminated in her fictional death. The student player was Te’o. Although it is not Notre Dame policy to police the personal relationships of our students, Notre Dame apologizes on behalf of Te’o to the media, our fans, and our students, and we have advised Te’o to refrain from interviews and statements on this matter until his counseling sessions are completed, approximately six months from now. His agreement to do so is also a condition of his remaining on the team. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.”

    I would instruct the spokesman, if the opportunity arose, to defend Notre Dame thusly: “We take these actions in light of the fact that we believe Te’o invented this fiction to avoid personal embarrassment, but he did not endanger anybody or change the outcome of any games or grades. It was an ethical and character failing on his part. However, speaking only for ourselves, as professionals we approach such problems with empathy and concern and harbor no anger toward Te’o, we believe he has presented with a problem and we hope to help him overcome it.”

    That’s my first draft, anyway, of what should have been done, it has largely the same outcome; Notre Dame keeps the player on the field.

    Run it by the lawyers to make sure I am not exposing Notre Dame to any liability.

  32. OK, Te’o had a fake girlfriend and she died?

    1. How does that make him get more awards?
    2. Since everybody would be sad if she died after she was real, aren’t we all glad that she only died after she was mythical?
    3. If she wasn’t Te’o’s girlfriend, who (other than Te’o) was harmed by her unbeing?
    4. Now that she’s dead, isn’t it MOOT whether she was alive before she was dead?
    5. Is there life before death?
    6. Aren’t we glad, considering that she was not in existence, that she didn’t marry Te’o and then get divorced? OMG!
    7. What if she wasn’t, then she married Te’o, then he divorced her and she didn’t appear in court; would she be defaulted? Would she be in contempt?
    8. If they had kids, who wouldn’t get THEM?
    9. If they had several cryogenic test tubes empty of fertilized eggs, whose wouldn’t THEY be? Would they get guardians ad litem?

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