What's Next for the Manti Te'o Story

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We've heard from duped Notre Dame star Manti Te'o himself. We're going to hear from the accused mastermind, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, next week. What's next in this strange, beautiful and truly weird adventure? 

We were still a little puzzled after Te'o spoke with Katie Couric and confirmed, well, not much. We know he isn't gay. That much is certain. "Faaarrr from it," he said, in case you don't remember. But the interview didn't answer very many questions. Heck, we're not convinced his sexuality won't come up again

The biggest news since we last checked in is that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man accused of orchestrating the years long hoax against Te'o, will make his first public comments next week. TMZ reports Tuiasosopo is going to sit down with Dr. Phil to tell his side of the story. The two apparently met last week and watched Te'o's interview with Couric together. 

Besides the questionable nature of choosing Dr. Phil, of all people, to come clean to, it's hard to guess what we're going to hear from Tuiasosopo when he does speak. So much has been reported and speculated about him and his motivations since the story broke that it can be difficult to keep track of it all. 

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Almost everyone's first guess was Tuiasosopo is confused about his sexuality. Another TMZ report said he has "intense feelings" for Te'o that developed over the course of the relationship. That TMZ report also states Tuiasosopo was the voice behind Lennay Kekua, but we know now that it was probably Tuiasosopo's female cousin, Tina, so who knows how much is true. We also know Te'o wasn't the first person Tuiasosopo duped with the Lennay Kekua act, but he was the victim Tuiasosopo had the most success with. 

Amazingly, no one's brought up money yet. Maybe it's because the rest of the story -- the communication, the length of the con, the star college football player and an apparent lack of sex -- all raised bigger, more interesting questions. We don't know anything about the Te'o family's financial situation. But is it that much a stretch to believe a guy carrying on a long relationship with a girl who was apparently suffering from cancer never gave her money, or bought her gifts, or tried to pay for something? Medical bills are expensive. No flowers? No teddy bears with hearts? No get well chocolates? Come on, son. 

We're no lawyer, but a transfer of funds under pretenses as false as a fake dying girlfriend would be considered fraud, no? And that could possibly be taken to court if Te'o decided to press charges, which would probably make Notre Dame and its president look bad. The school concluded their investigation once they couldn't find a record of Kekua existing, according to a letter from the President leaked to the Associated Press. On that basis alone, they decided nothing criminal happened and that Te'o should be left to deal with this on his own. 

There's a chance Te'o hasn't mentioned money yet because he's too embarrassed to admit he sent some to the fake girlfriend he never met. That would be pretty stupid, after all. But after watching the Couric interview it seems like he's capable of anything. Or, it seems like he would be dumb enough to not admit giving money to Kekua to further try and save face. It's bad enough he dated a fake girlfriend for so long and then knowingly mislead the press after he found out she was fake. 

Imagine if Te'o admits giving Kekua money. Like, a lot of money. How would that affect his NFL draft stock? Oh, did we not mention Te'o still has to perform at the NFL combine on February 20? That's an event where all the incoming rookies do physical and mental tests for the teams looking to draft them over the summer. Have fun with the Wonderlic test, Mr. Te'o.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.