Trace from Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Does anyone really believe all this stuff about people playing a hoax on Te'o? Nothing I've seen has made me think he wasn't a willing participant.
Matt Fortuna: As we all can see, judging from this email and many others regarding the situation, this is a very divisive topic. I've said it before and I'll say it again: No laws or NCAA rules were seemingly broken, so I'm not exactly sure where the story goes from here without word from the alleged perpetrator, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. There are certainly enough holes on both sides to pick apart and/or support whatever argument one is making, and I really don't see that changing in the immediate future.
JJ from Tumalo, Ore., writes: Matt, the entire ND season is a fraud. Stanford was hosed. Pitt was hosed by the refs. ND faced a USC back-up at SC and still almost lost the game. And the IRISH including Teo showed up like deers in the headlight in Miami. Did Brian K even have a gameplan? Now I must ask, did Teo's Grand-ma die or was this also BS? I am VERY hopeful that the PAC will go 3-0 against ND next season. A senior at ND tells the world about his girl friend who NEVER lived. And it is Oregon that is being investigated? Can we trust a single word coming out of ND? This is disgusting, disturbing and damning. Just another hit to ND's Lucky Charms season. Nice investigative reporting Matt. Unless you knew about this. And if you did know about this you should resign.
Matt Fortuna: To get it out of the way: No, I had no idea about this before the Deadspin story broke. And if I did, I would've done everything in my power to break the story. As for the rest of your assertions, I don't see any correlation between this and the on-field performance this season of Notre Dame. The Irish won all 12 of their regular-season games and earned the right to play in the Discover BCS National Championship. I'm not sure how this is in any way, shape or form similar to Oregon or any other school's situation, given that no actual rules or laws were broken here. It's just a strange story, but at the end of the day it has little effect on anyone other than the Te'o family.
Chris Winterhaler from Chicago writes: So did you actually interview Te'o for your September 2012 article or just make up the quotes by Brian Kelly and Manti? If you honestly did interview them, that would mean both Kelly and Te'o went along with the dead girlfriend story and now are trying to say they did not have any involvement. Manti quote: "I would usually call her, but now I take a knee and pray, that is how I talk to her."
Matt Fortuna: Yes, I interview everyone who is quoted in my articles, unless otherwise specified ("Te'o told the …" etc.). That said, I'm not sure how that would indict Brian Kelly or Manti Te'o in this case, since, based on all evidence gathered so far, Te'o did not receive a phone call about his fake girlfriend not being dead until Dec. 6.
Mark from Los Angeles writes: Hey Matt, great job this year covering the Notre Dame season. I wish I was writing you to ask about ND's chances next year at making a NC run, but after reading Deadspin, my head is in a deadspin. I'm sure your email is flooded with questions about Manti Te'o and the girlfriend hoax. Did you hear anything about this prior to the Deadspin article? Is this real? I read ND's response, but what do you have from the inside? Anything you care to share with a ND fan from LA? Thanks man, and keep up the good work. Mark B., Los Angeles
Matt Fortuna: Thanks Mark. I wish I had more, but most of us were blindsinded by this. It's an unprecedented situation, and it's a story that has certainly jumped off the sports page and into A-1 territory. I can't say I'd be too surprised at any other twists or turns this tale takes, as there seems to be a new one every day. I don't think these will be the most exciting three months for Te'o as he prepares for the NFL draft and engages in interviews with his potential future employers, but until we hear from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, I'm not sure where the story goes from here.