Shock quickly spread through Notre Dame's campus Wednesday night, as students learned star football player Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend isn't real.
The university released a statement saying Te'o "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."
Despite skepticism among some fans, most Notre Dame students say they believe Te'o had nothing to do with the hoax.
"A lot of people are giving Manti the benefit of the doubt, saying probably he got hoaxed, that it's something he wasn't part of," said student Meggan Muller. "Hopefully that's true."
Few people have shown Te'o more support during the successful season than his classmates.
Many of them sported leis at games, following the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend.
In students' eyes, Te'o was not only a stand-up athlete, but a stand-up guy.
And, until it's proven otherwise, many students say their view of the player hasn't been tainted.
"I think he's too good of a person to know about it this the whole time," said Notre Dame student Lucas Heus.
Students are hopeful they'll get to hear more about the complex situation from Te'o himself.
Until then, they're just trying to make sense of all the stories surrounding the hoax.
"I don't know why someone would do this to such an awesome person," said student Nick Rishard.
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