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NFL GM's will have tough questions for Manti Te'o. Chris Chase asks none of those questions. / Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- On the morning after the Manti Te'o hoax broke, here's what the students were saying Thursday on Notre Dame's campus.

"I'll pass on that."

"I need to get to class."

"Sorry, I have work to do. I left my notebook over there ? "

Sixteen requests. Thirteen mum's-the-word. And these are college kids, usually eager to gab about anything. Hmmmm. One suspects the Te'o story and its bizarre possibilities have hit a nerve, for there was the occasional sullen tone. This was, after all, the campus where the student section was awash with leis on game day.

In LaFortune Student Center, a football field away from the Golden Dome, three guys had just finished an early lunch. Reaction to the Manti Te'o story?

Two fled as if a fire alarm had just gone off. But freshman Peter Noell of Chicago was willing.

"I think right now there's just a lot of confusion. I think people want to support him because he's taken a mediocre football team to an appearance in the national championship game. But I think it's kind of hard for people to stand behind him until all the facts are out.

"I want to hear his case. But either way, I don't think it ends well for him. He's either incredibly stupid, having a girlfriend you've never met for two years, or he was in on the hoax and the integrity that Notre Dame football purports to be is not at all."

Two MBA students watching Te'o reports on one of the lounge televisions had thoughts as well.

"I really feel for Manti. I wish the story wasn't as big as it was,'' Jim Falbe said. "If I made a mistake, there wouldn't be 10 million people chomping at the bit to understand. I think the feeling on campus and with the alumni is they're just disappointed. It's disillusioning. Why do we have to have another thing happen?''

Over to Mike O'Brien.

"I think it's just bizarre. I don't know how else to describe it. It's not like we think he's lying or anything, but then you hear he's never met her in person. You just don't know what's going on.''

They say the campus is behind him.

"A hundred percent. I haven't heard anybody mention that Te'o set this up. No way. No way," Falbe said.

"A lot of us have met him. For us, we're more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt," O'Brien said.

And if it turns out that he had a part in it?

"That," Falbe said, "would be catastrophic."

The student newspaper, the Observer, wasn't granting interviews either, but instead released a statement.

"At least for today, we're not commenting further because we were so close to the story ourselves and want to make sure we get it right," editor-in-chief Allan Joseph said in an email.

Included in the statement: "We, along with many others in the media, football program and public were taken in despite our efforts to report information in our coverage of Te'o and his season."

Like everywhere else, nobody at Notre Dame knew exactly what to make of this story. Unlike everywhere else, few seemed to want to talk about it.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Notre Dame campus sullen in wake of Te'o hoax story

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