Manti Te'o ( Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
NEW YORK (USA TODAY) - Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has told Katie Couric that he briefly lied about his online girlfriend after discovering she didn't exist.
Te'o said in an interview to air Thursday on Couric's show that he didn't lie about the hoax until December, believing Lennay Kekua had died of cancer. A segment of the interview with Te'o and his parents was broadcast Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America.
The Heisman Trophy runner-up received a phone call in December from a woman saying she was Kekua, whom he believed had died in September.
Te'o said, "Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
Te'o maintained that he had no part in creating the hoax.
"You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti," Couric said.
Te'o said: "Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12."
Te'o's family is included in the interview. His father refuted reports that his son used the whole situation for personal gain, perhaps enhancing his prospects on the road to Heisman Trophy voting.
"People can speculate about what they think he is," a tearful Brian Te'o told Couric. "I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid."