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The episode put Notre Dame athletics on the defensive, a spot it has occupied before.

George O’Leary resigned in December 2001 after five days as the football coach, admitting he lied on his resume. In 2010, a student-athlete was accused of sexually molesting Saint Mary’s College student Elizabeth Seeberg two weeks before she died of a suspected drug overdose. Later that same year, 20-year-old Declan Sullivan was killed when the aerial lift he was on was knocked over by winds as he filmed football practice. University officials acknowledged their procedures and safeguards were not adequate and paid a $42,000 fine to the state for safety violations.

In the Te’o case, the university’s initial statement after the story broke on Jan. 16 said it had hired investigators to assist him in “discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax.” It also said proper authorities would continue to investigate “this troubling matter.” There is no indication law enforcement agencies were ever notified.

South Bend police and the St. Joseph Prosecutor’s Office both say that they have never been contacted and Robert Ramsey, FBI supervisory special agent for northern Indiana, said there was no investigation because authorities don’t believe a crime was committed. Authorities in California also have said they are not investigating the case.

University spokesman Dennis Brown and another university official who was not identified told the South Bend Tribune the school didn’t go public about the hoax before the BCS title game because they didn’t think it would be in the best interest of either the Notre Dame or Alabama teams.