In the innocent days of last week, a college football girlfriend scandal meant Brent Musburger ogling AJ McCarron's Miss Alabama.
Then we found out Manti Te'o's girlfriend was as bogus as Notre Dame's goal-line stand against Stanford. As fraudulent as the Irish claim on PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY.
Not exactly a victimless crime, but it could have been worse. Imagine if Te'o had won the Heisman Trophy. Thank God for Johnny Football.
Anyway, this outrageous story made the Lance/Oprah waltz boring. All of America is talking Manti Te'o.
And it made me think of Georges. That's right. Georges. Three Georges to be exact. Allow me to explain.
George O'Leary. The defrocked football coach at, yes, Notre Dame, who was on the job all of five days before resigning because of a hoax. In this case, his resume'.
You remember the story from 2001. Years earlier, O'Leary padded his resume' to help him get some coaching jobs. Claimed he had a master's degree from New York University and had been a three-year football letterman at the University of New Hampshire.
Oops. No master's degree from anywhere. Never even played for the Hampshires. When the embellishment came to light, Notre Dame accepted O'Leary's resignation.
Wednesday night, when Te'o's tale was exposed, that there was no girlfriend who supposedly had died of leukemia, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick passionately stood by his star linebacker. Claimed that Te'o was the complete victim of a hoax, even though any general reading of the transcripts of numerous interviews shows that at the minimum Te'o was as much duper as dupee.
Nowhere was the accountability we saw from Notre Dame a decade ago. There's even a report that Notre Dame sent a cameraman to a fan who started a charitable foundation in the name of Te'o's girlfriend and placed a supportive video on the Fighting Irish YouTube channel this week, well after Swarbrick said the school learned of the hoax.
This is a story that had to reach all the way to the Vatican. The Pope has surely has been apprised of the situation.
Notre Dame has been embarrassed. O'Leary lost his job. Expect Swarbrick to lose his.
George Glass. Don't blame this sordid story on modern society or the Internet. Fictional romances long have been with us. George Glass descended upon America in November 1970.
Yep, Notre Dame football's got nothing on “The Brady Bunch.”
It's no more preposterous that a Notre Dame linebacking stud would have to get his girlfriend off the Internet than for Jan Brady to have to invent boyfriends.
Jan, one of the heartthrobs of my youth, was somehow unpopular in the shadow of older sister Marcia, so she concocted George Glass.
Poor Jan had to think on her own. She had little help from the world wide web. On the Internet, you can find a website that lists the steps to create a fake boyfriend or girlfriend.
Much of it is common sense — make sure you have the big details down pat; keep your (nonexistent) meetings to a minimum — and the confidence men who put this together mostly aced it on Lennay Kekua.
But then came tip No. 12. “Don't Oversell It.”
Uh-oh. Te'o oversold it.
And it's clear that Te'o or his hoaxsters were loyal viewers of another iconic television show. In a 1973 M*A*S*H episode, Hawkeye and Trapper John invented Capt. John Tuttle so he could benefit an orphanage. Then things get messy, as Te'o can well attest, and the doctors had to kill him off.
Let it be a lesson. Don't get too attached to fake people. They die too young.
George Bodenheimer. The executive chairman of ESPN.
King Bodenheimer is not alone. This was not American journalism's finest hour. Clues littered the path of the Te'o/Kekua romance, but no one picked up on them. Not ESPN. Not Sports Illustrated. Not The New York Times. Not the Tribunes of Chicago and South Bend.
There but for the grace of God goes us. Notre Dame landed in our backyard in October for a showdown in Norman. That was after Kekua's, uh, death.
Lucky for us, we had too many stories to write about the Irish ending OU winning streaks and Knute Rockne's grandson living in Edmond and the Play Like A Champion Today debate and Bob Stoops' high school coach playing for Notre Dame against the Sooners in 1952 and 1953.
We could have stepped into the Te'o mess ourselves. We didn't, but others did. And were party to a hoax that has soiled Notre Dame's greatest football season in more than 20 years.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.