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12:17 PM

Manti Te'o's Girlfriend a Hoax

Posted by TASKEINC

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Not long before Notre Dame played Michigan State last fall, word spread that Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o had lost his grandmother and girlfriend within hours of each other.

Te'o never missed a practice and made a season-high 12 tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery in a 20-3 victory against the Spartans. His inspired play became a stirring story line for the Fighting Irish as they made a run to the national championship game behind their humble, charismatic star.

Te'o's grandmother did indeed die. His girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed.

In a shocking announcement, Notre Dame said Te'o was duped into an online relationship with a woman whose ''death'' from leukemia was faked by perpetrators of an elaborate hoax. The goal of the scam wasn't clear, though Notre Dame said it used an investigative firm to dig into the details after Te'o disclosed them three weeks ago.

The hoax was disclosed hours after posted a lengthy story, saying it could find no record that Kekua ever existed. The story suggests a friend of Te'o may have carried out the hoax and that the football player may have been in on it - a stunning claim against a widely admired All-American who led the most famed program in college football back to the championship game for the first time since 1988.

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online," Te'o said Wednesday night in a statement. "We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her."

However, he stopped short of saying he had ever met her in person or correcting reports that said he had, though he did on numerous occasions talk about how special the relationship was to him.

"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating," he said. "In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was."

Word of the hoax spread quickly and raised questions about whether the school somehow played a role in pushing the tale.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said at a news conference that Te'o told coaches on Dec. 26 that he had received a call from Kekua's phone number while at an awards ceremony during the first week of December.

"When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same person he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead. Manti was very unnerved by that, as you might imagine," Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick said the school hired investigators and their report indicated those behind the hoax were in contact with each other, discussing what they were doing.

The investigators ''were able to discover online chatter among the perpetrators that was certainly the ultimate proof of this, the joy they were taking,'' Swarbrick said. "The casualness among themselves they were talking about what they accomplished."

Te'o asked the woman he thought was his girlfriend to converse via Skype, where he could see her online, but she always found an excuse not to, Swarbrick said.

"As part of the hoax, several meetings were set up where Lennay never showed, including some in Hawaii," said Swarbrick, who offered only vague details of the scheme to dupe his player, and others.

"We know, for example, that these perpetrators didn't limit themselves to Manti in the targets,'' he said. ''There are a remarkable number of characters involved. We don't know how many people they represent. There are male and female characters, brothers, cousins, mother, and we don't know if it's two people playing multiple characters or multiple people. But, again, it goes to the sophistication of this, that there are all these sort of independent pieces that reinforce elements of the story all the way through."

As for Te'o being gullible, Swarbrick said the linebacker was the ''perfect mark.''

"He was not a person who would have a second thought about offering his assistance and help in engaging fully," Swarbrick said.

For Te'o, "the pain was real," Swarbrick said. "The grief was real. The affection was real. That's the nature of this sad, cruel game."

Swarbrick said Notre Dame did not take the matter to the police, saying that the school left it up to Te'o and his family to do so. He added that Notre Dame did not plan to release the findings of its investigation.

"We had no idea of motive, and that was really significant to us. ... Was somebody trying to create an NCAA violation at the core of this? Was there somebody trying to impact the outcome of football games by manipulating the emotions of a key player? Was there an extortion request coming? When you match the lack of sort of detail we lacked until we got some help investigating it with the risk involved, it was clear to me until we knew more we had to just to continue to work to try to gather the facts,'" Swarbrick said.

The Deadspin report changed all that.

Friends and relatives of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told Deadspin they believe he created Kekua. The website said Te'o and Tuiasosopo knew each other. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Tuiasosopo by telephone were unsuccessful.

As for Kekua, Deadspin said she does not have a death certificate. Stanford, where she reportedly went to school, has no record of anybody by that name, the website said. Deadspin said a record search produced no obituary or funeral announcement. There is no record of her birth in the news.

There are a few Twitter and Instagram accounts registered to Lennay Kekua, but the website reported that photographs identified as Kekua online and in TV news reports are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua.

Te'o talked freely about their relationship after her supposed death and how much she meant to him.

In a story that appeared in The South Bend Tribune on Oct. 12, Manti's father, Brian, recounted an anecdote about how his son and Kekua met after Notre Dame had played at Stanford in 2009. Brian Te'o also told the newspaper that Kekua had visited Hawaii and met with his son. Brian Te'o told the AP in an interview in October that he and his wife had never met Manti's girlfriend but they had hoped to at the Wake Forest game in November. The father said he believed the relationship was just beginning to get serious when she died.

The Tribune released a statement saying: "At the Tribune, we are as stunned by these revelations as everyone else. Indeed, this season we reported the story of this fake girlfriend and her death as details were given to us by Te'o, members of his family and his coaches at Notre Dame."

The week before Notre Dame played Michigan State on Sept. 15, coach Brian Kelly told reporters when asked that Te'o's grandmother and a friend had died. He said Kekua had told Te'o not to miss a game if she died. The linebacker turned in one of his best performances of the season and his playing through heartache became a prominent theme during the Irish's undefeated regular season. He finished second in Heisman voting.

"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life," Te'o said in his statement.

"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been."

Te'o and the Irish lost the title game to Alabama, 42-14 on Jan. 7. He has graduated and was set to begin preparing for the NFL combine and draft at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this week.

"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life," he said in his statement, "and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL draft."

from Yahoo Sports

10:34 AM

Madison Fantasy Football 2012-13

Posted by TASKEINC

The Madison Fantasy Football League 2012-13 auto-draft took place on August 24, 2012. Hope you're getting your team together, hope you're ready for some FANTASY FOOTBALL!

Below are links to the top 300 Fantasy Players and the 2012 ESPN Fantasy Draft Kit. These are very good tools to help you organize your team and find the best available players.

The Oakland Raiders, Fantasy owner - Barry Shaw, won the 2011-12 Championship and is looking to defend his title.  


Madison Fantasy Football Pre-Season Power Rankings

9:41 AM

2012-13 NBA Season

Posted by TASKEINC

The 2012-13 NBA season is already off to a roaring start. For the NBA fan, this upcoming campaign will be very exciting. There are teams that have made solid moves toward improving and parity is the order of the day.

As of this posting, we still do not know where Dwight Howard will land. Will he remain with Orlando? Will he get his wish and go to the Brooklyn Nets?

Don't you just love the name, Brooklyn Nets? Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? With or without Howard, Brooklyn will be a better team because they re-signed Darren Williams and picked Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. They will be better but still need a Dwight Howard to solidify their team. From Johnson's days with the Hawks, he's good, but oftentimes he dominates the ball, doesn't play great defense, and if his shot happens to be off, he can cost his team. You have to give his agent credit though because when the Miami "Big 3" joined forces - Lebron, Bosh, and Wade - all with new contracts or re-arranged contracts (D. Wade), that same year, Joe Johnson quietly signed a mega-deal with the Hawks making him, at least at the time, the highest paid NBA player. That's right! Joe "Ball-hawking" Johnson.

And my Lakers, picking up Steve Nash, wow! It's going to be interesting to see how the Phoenix fans receive Steve his first game back. More than likely, a chorus of boos will await him every time he touches the ball. That's always rather cool when fans boo in unison like that, as soon as the ball leaves the villains hands, the booing stops; he touches the ball again, the booing starts. The only way to stop it is to go off! If Nash starts raining 3-pointers, the fans will shut up.

He won't receive the Lebron treatment, only because he did not say, "I'm taking my talents to Los Angeles," but that's the only reason why he will not. If Nash wants a championship before his Hall-of-Fame career is done, it was time for him to leave Phoenix. It would have been downright foolish for him to go to Toronto, hometown or not. But to now be a member of the Lakers has to be extremely difficult for the Suns and their fans. It's not so bad though, he did leave the Mavericks to go to Phoenix so he was never a native son.

Jason Terry with the Celtics is instant offense off the bench. By signing Terry, the Celtics really forced Ray Allen's hand. This past season, Boston made Allen their 6th man because of the play of Avery Bradley. There's no way they could have Ray and Jason coming off the bench, someone would not be happy because of a lack of playing time. Therefore, since Ray needed to move on, why not join the Miami Heat? Mike Miller can go ahead and retire, bad back and all, with a championship, or at least he should sit out a season to recover, and James Jones will be released.

All the NBA critics talk about "loyalty." There's no loyalty anymore. There was never loyalty from the owners or general manager's standpoint. A GM would lose his job if he does not keep productive players on the floor. Therefore, if a player needed to be released or traded, the GM or owner would make it happen. Now, with free-agency, the players are calling the shots. Having said that, Dirk Nowitzki, of the Mavericks, should have packed his bags after winning the championship 2 years ago. Now he will more than likely, have to go down with the ship.

Oh yea, it's going to be an interesting season to say the least. 

12:16 PM

2012-13 Fantasy Football

Posted by TASKEINC

We're about ready to rev up the 2012-13 Fantasy Football league. Last season the Madison Trojan Football Fantasy League featured 20 teams. The winner of the 2011-12 season was Barry Shaw and his Oakland Raiders. That's right, the Oakland Raiders entered the playoffs as a Wildcard team, 8-6 record, and ran the table in the playoffs to capture the inaugural Madison Trojan Championship.

Just to show that his victory was not a fluke, Barry want's to defend his title with most, if not all of the 20 participants in the 2011-12 season.

We will be sending out emails to last seasons participants and hope to get a response. In a few weeks you will be able to select your pre-draft players along with submitting the names of players that you do not want to be considered for your draft.

Like last season, the league will be set to auto-draft and you do not  need to be present for the actual draft. Hope to see you this season, any questions don't hesitate to send us an email.

Set Pre-Draft Rankings

9:23 PM

NBA’s most valuable team - Lakers

Posted by TASKEINC

Blockbuster television deals and a new collective bargaining agreement have lifted the value of the average NBA team to a record $393 million, up 6.5 percent over last year.

No team has benefited more from the explosion in TV money than the Los Angeles Lakers, who have unseated the New York Knicks as the league’s most valuable franchise. The Lakers struck gold last year with a new 20-year television deal with Time Warner Cable worth an average of $200 million annually beginning with the 2012–13 season. The agreement drives the value of the Lakers up an NBA-high 40 percent to $900 million.

Time Warner will create two new regional sports channels to feature the Lakers, one in English and one in Spanish. The Lakers have by far the biggest TV audience of any NBA club, averaging 271,000 households on Fox Sports West last season, which was 73 percent higher than the next-most-watched team, the Chicago Bulls.

Continued on Yahoo Sports

10:11 PM

Only Kobe deserves comparisons

Posted by TASKEINC

Michael Jordan thinks only Kobe Bryant deserves comparisons. Ever since Michael Jordan retired — all three times, really — the NBA has searched for the heir to his throne. Many players have popped up as pretenders to the throne, from Harold Miner to Jerry Stackhouse to Vince Carter. In recent years, people have stopped trying to find a clone and just searched for a similarly dominant great player. If you ever wondered why LeBron James falls short in the comparison, a lot of it has to do with his inability to meet the example set by Jordan. However, Lebron has finally won his championship, but he'll need a few more.

There are many great players in the NBA these days, most of whom have never been directly compared to Jordan. Nevertheless, His Airness says only one player comes close enough to his greatness to merit the comparison. Not surprisingly, that player is Kobe Bryant. Here's what Roland Lazenby, a great writer currently working on a Jordan book, tweeted on Sunday (via PBT):

Kobe's ultimate competition is MJ. That's why MJ watches him. MJ made people think what he was doing wasn't human. Ditto the Kobester.

I never said Kobe was better than MJ. MJ just told me Kobe's the only one to have done the work, to deserve comparison.