Te'o: `Embarrassed' to be victim of `sick joke'
SOUTH BEN, Ind. (AP) _ Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o says he's embarrassed to be the victim of what he calls ``someone's sick joke.''
The Heisman Trophy finalist said in a statement Wednesday that he developed an emotional relationship with a woman he met online and maintained it through computers and phones.
Notre Dame says someone using a fictitious name conspired with others to lead Te'o to believe she had died of leukemia.
Te'o has said the loss of his girlfriend inspired him to help lead the Irish to the BCS title game.
The university says Te'o and his parents told Notre Dame coaches on Dec. 26 that Te'o had been the victim of what appeared to be a hoax. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says the school hired investigators and their report indicated those behind the hoax were in contact with each other, discussing what they were doing.