The person cast as the mastermind of the hoax involving Notre Dame's Manti Te'o may tell his side of the story, a family member said Sunday.
Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, uncle of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, says the family plans to hold a meeting this week to determine when and how his nephew would talk about the bizarre prank.
"We want to do it right," he said, also noting that the family has hired an attorney. He never directly mentioned the hoax or his nephew being involved.
Te'o insisted he had no role in the hoax involving his "dead" girlfriend and told ESPN on Friday night that he was duped by a person who has since apologized to him.
In an off-camera interview, Te'o identified that person as Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California. He said the young man contacted him soon after Deadpsin.com broke the news on Wednesday. The Deadspin story indicated Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was involved, and suggested Te'o was, too.
"We're just a family of faith. The family is holding up well," Peter Navy Tuiasosopo said. "They're holding up the way I would expect a family to. This is a storm."
He made the comments after attending a two-hour service at the Oasis Christian Church, where his brother, who is Ronaiah's father, is pastor.
Titus Tuiasosopo, the father, choked up as he thanked people for their prayers.
"I've been practicing how to say 'no comment' in 20 languages," the pastor told his congregation. The family has not commented publicly since news of the hoax broke.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo wasn't seen in attendance, and two church members said he was not there.
Earlier in the day, ABC news announced that Te'o would do his first television interview with Katie Couric. The interview will air Thursday on Couric's daytime talk show and Te'o's parents will be with him. ABC was not releasing details of when the interview would take place or where.
Also, in a story published in Sunday's South Bend Tribune, a Notre Dame spokesman said the university decided against disclosing the hoax before the Irish played Alabama in the BCS championship game on Jan. 7 because it wasn't in the best interest of the teams.
University spokesman Dennis Brown said some school administrators thought they should release what they knew about the hoax when they became aware of it. Te'o went to coaches and school officials with his story on Dec. 26. The school commissioned an investigation that it says confirmed Te'o was not involved. Investigators gave their findings to the school on Jan. 4.
The university officials said the investigators did not examine cellphone records, emails or other electronic communication to determine the length or extent of Te'o's communication over the past few years with the person claiming to be Lennay Kekua, nor did the university ask Te'o to take a lie detector test.
The school informed Te'o's parents about the investigation results on Jan. 5.
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- Without a doubt, the Manti Te'o story is one of the strangest to come from the sports world in recent memory. Who created a fake girl to interact with Te'o and become his girifriend, and how did he not suspect something when he claimed never to have met her? And what of the reports she really does exist? Like an onion, you have to peel back the layers of this remarkable story to find out just what happened, so here goes: Photo: Getty/Google Story of Te'o's girlfriend a hoax
- Te'o was a standout freshman at Notre Dame when he said he first came in contact with Lennay Kekua, whom he met online and was also Samoan. Though the two developed a close bond, they never met during their three-year relationship. Photo: Getty Images Nine baffling questions about Te'o story
- Or did they? Teo's father reportedly told the South Bend Tribune the pair first met at this game against Stanford in 2009, and Te'o himself reportedly told ESPN she was 'the most beautfiul girl I ever met.' Photo: Getty Images
- Te'o reportedly called Kekua 'the love of my life,' even though he contradicted the previous statement by often claiming they had never met, or even Skyped. Then, Kekua was involved in a serious car accident, and afterwards, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Photo: Getty Images
- Then, in a story that dovetailed so perfectly it could have been scripted by Hollywood, Kekua and Te'o's beloved grandmother died on the same day, Sept. 12, 2012. Te'o played in the Michigan State game that weekend, and dedicated the victory to their memory. Photo: Getty Images
- The Te'o-Kekua storyline was one of the major themes behind Notre Dame and Te'o's sudden rise to power. The senior linebacker finished second in the Heisman voting behind winner Johnny Manziel, and Notre Dame earned its first BCS National Championship Game berth after compiling a perfect 12-0 record. Photo: Getty Images
- Two days before the award was announced, Te'o said he received a call from someone using Kekua's voice -- and then he stayed quiet for three weeks, choosing to tell Notre Dame officials Dec. 26, when the school launched its investigation. Photo: Getty Images
- Finally, after receiving an unsolicited e-mail from an anonymous source, editors at Deadspin.com investigated the story and discovered Kekua did not exist, and that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax, with Te'o's good friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo a central figure. But why would he want to humiliate his own friend, and what exactly did Te'o know? Within hours of the report going viral, Notre Dame held a hastily-called press conference, where athletic director Jack Swarbrick (pictured) said Te'o was the victim of a 'very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax.' Photo: AP in English
- While Te'o released a statement that read in part, 'To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies, was, and is, painful and humiliating,' Arizona Cardinals fullback Regan Mauia claimed not only did she exist, but he met her in American Samoa in 2011. He added that he is 'close to' Kekua's family. Photo: Google Images
- What does this all mean for Te'o? Well, aside from putting his reputation and credibility on the line, there are some who claim that this incident showed at worst a poor judge of character, and victim or not, it could damage his already falling draft stock even more. The final result is there were no winners in this hoax, just a lot of confused people. Photo: Getty Images The legend of Te'o got complicated