Manti Te'o, his fake girlfriend and three Georges

COMMENTARY — How the hoax at Notre Dame relates to a football coach's lies, the Brady Bunch and ESPN.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 17, 2013

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.”


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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