8 years later: ESPN announces docuseries Manti Te'o catfishing scandal
On New Year’s Day, Notre Dame will have the difficult task once again of trying to defeat Alabama en route to winning a national championship.
In 2013, the Fighting Irish had the same challenge. But there was a story with that team that can be forgotten. It was the Manti Te’o catfishing scandal. It’s one of the weirdest stories we’ve ever seen in sports.
Eight years after it happened, we’re getting a look back at this debacle thanks to Don Van Natta of ESPN.
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If you forgot how this story went, here’s a refresher. Back in the fall of 2012, the Fighting Irish were the darlings of college football. Notre Dame was led by a dynamic linebacker, also known as Te’o. We learned that fall that Te’o had lost his grandmother and girlfriend within hours of each other.
Once learning about Te’o’s loss, the entire college football world was focused on Te’o and rooting for him to succeed. He went on to be a Heisman finalist and helped the Irish to the 2013 BCS Championship Game, where Notre Dame lost to the Crimson Tide.
After losing in the title game, we soon learned that Te’o’s girlfriend wasn’t real and the world was introduced to the phenomenon of catfishing.
This docuseries will air as part of Van Natta’s Backstory program on ESPN. It will debut on Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Van Natta has produced other episodes in this series that have chronicled events connected to Serena Williams and LeBron James.