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Notre Dame defends how it handled Manti Te'o hoax

School officials say they handled the situation the best they possibly could under the circumstances, and that they felt it best not to say anything prior to the BCS title game.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Notre Dame officials defended the way they handled the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax. In a discussion with the South Bend Tribune, they said they felt they'd dealt with the situation in the best way they could.

"Hindsight is 20-20," university spokesman Dennis Brown said. "Like most everybody else, except perhaps the makers of the documentary 'Catfish' and fans of that form, we were utterly stunned to hear the news on the first day and had difficult time getting our arms around it."

Notre Dame learned of the hoax in late December but decided against making the information public prior to the 2013 BCS Championship game. School officials worried that it might serve as too much of a distraction heading into that contest.

The story finally went public in a report from Deadspin on Jan. 16. Te'o will have his first on-camera interview about the situation when he sits down with ABC's Katie Couric on Thursday.