Notre Dame Got ‘Whiff’ of Gambling in Te’o Story, But Hid; We Still Need Post-9/12 Phone Records

I’ve seen the latest news about Monti Te’o’s hundreds of phone calls with some number in LA.

I’m suspicious. First of all, the accounts suggest that what has been made available is merely some spreadsheet of data about those phone calls – not the printouts themselves.

Secondly, Te’o now is alleged to have admitted to Katie Couric that he began lying, after he was told that the “girlfriend” was a “hoax.” This is the thin ice with which we are all familiar in our daily lives: if you’ll admit to lying (repeatedly) in one circumstance, how do I know you’re not lying at to all the rest of these facts?

But, third, the data moves us only up through September 2012, which is when Lennay, the fake girlfriend, is alleged to have died.  If she never existed, and didn’t therefore “die” in September, why choose that as a “cut-off date”, and why shouldn’t we be given phone call data for the period after September 2012?

This is not, I would argue at this point, by any means an idle question. I’ve nowhere seen anyone else raise this issue, but I believe it requires an answer, as illustrated by the following facts:

1. Monti Te’o did a major, astonishing no-show in the BCS Championship game. Gonzo. Disappeared. Not just a head-scratcher, but a jump-up-and-down WTF___ evaporation by Monti Te’o. One of the nation’s great linebackers during the regular season, Te’o was not just nowhere to be found; his effective absence on the field might fairly be seen as a major factor in the pummeling taken by Notre Dame.

2. What if someone — perhaps this fellow in Arizona named Tuiasosopo — knew before that game, because of facts unknown to almost anyone else, that he had rattled Te’o, by way of a deception, to Te’o’s very core?  (Tuiasosopo appears, based on photos of him with an Arizona player, and other reports, to be one of those habitual “hangers-on” who skulk around athletic settings, ‘buddying-up’ to college athletes.)

3. And what if that same character Tuiasosopo had many phone calls with Te’o, prior to the game, in which Tuiasosopo generated explicit or implicit suggestions that he was going to “out” Te’o, his extraordinary gullibility, and Te’o’s own lies in early December about the existence of the girlfriend and the crushing impact her death had upon him?  And this fellow Tuiasosopo  knew, as a result of those phone calls, that Te’o was not just upset, but unhinged enough so that it was obvious that Te’o’s play in the national championship game would most likely be substantially affected?

4. And what if, Based on this “inside” knowledge, Tuiasosopo, or others at his direction, laid down bets on the game, and made very substantial money on those bets?

Are those post-September 2012 phone records for Monti Te’o relevant? Absolutely. They might tell us how many times Te’o phoned with Tuiasosopo after September.

Should Notre Dame have been hot on this phone trail — immediately upon finding out from Te’o about this hoax/set-up? on December 26? Absolutely.

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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