Sports Administration Professor Comments on Te'o Controversy

By
Ben Postlethwait

Dateline
Updated Fri, Jan 18, 2013 2:38 pm

The bizarre saga of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o fictitious dead girlfriend continues to evolve. But what is clear is people were misled and sports journalists dropped the ball.

Ohio University professor of Sports Administration, Dr. David Ridpath said there are more questions that need to be answered.

"To say that this was just solely a hoax, that he fell into, seems a bit far-fetched. It's possible, but Manti Te'o needs to answer these questions,” he said. “The longer he waits, the worse it's going to be. Part of me wants to believe that he didn't do that."

On Wednesday, Ohio University alumnus and Deadspin reporter Timothy Burke broke the story that Manti Te'o girlfriend, 22-year-old Lennay Kekau, who reportedly battled leukemia only to die in a car accident last year, never existed.

"Initially I was shocked, Ridpath said. “I thought for sure the story was wrong because some people have some doubts about Deadspin, but it has turned out to be a pretty solid piece of reporting.”

Ridpath said the ongoing scandal is causing sports media to ask some tough questions about themselves.

"I think a lot of them are looking in the mirror today saying 'We were caught with our pants down,’” he said. "Taking the words of coaches, taking the words of players as is probably something we shouldn't do at face-value in the future.”

Te'o has issued a statement to ESPN, claiming to be the victim of a hoax, while not addressing particular details of the controversy surrounding his actions.

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