SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Shock and surprise following the bombshell news about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's non-existent girlfriend has now turned to suspicion on campus.
Students and fans at Notre Dame celebrated the accomplishments and the character of Manti Te'o all season long, but now some say confusion and controversy surround his legacy.
"(I) don't really know what to believe," senior Patrick Sullivan said. "There is a lot of different information out there right now."
Students aren't sure what to think about news that the girlfriend of star linebacker Te'o never existed and her publicized death last fall didn't happen.
The story is a lengthy convoluted web of Twitter messages and alleged phone calls between Te'o and the woman in question.
"It was one of those things where my roommates sat around reading it and it was just unbelievable," said junior Kristi Skowron. "We were sitting there and were like, I don't understand how this is even possible right now."
Te'o claims he is the victim of an online hoax.
Notre Dame's Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick spoke Wednesday in support of the 2012 Heisman trophy candidate.
"If Jack Swarbrick is willing to stand behind him and Notre Dame is standing behind him, there has got to be some truth to his story," Skowron said.
All season, students celebrated Te'o's on-field performance and also his character off the field.
Those RTV6 spoke with said they are reserving judgment, hoping that when the truth is revealed number 5's legacy will be untarnished.
"Most highly thought of player in my four years here… He is a legend basically," Sullivan said. "Obviously this is going to make his reputation a little more interesting."
Many analysts predict Te'o will be a first-round pick in this April's NFL draft, but an NFL draft consultant said the uncertainty surrounding this hoax could affect a team's willingness to draft him.