Manti Te'o told Notre Dame officials he NEVER met his supposed girlfriend in person ... and only realized her death was a hoax last month ... after receiving a phone call from "Lennay's" cell phone.
Jack Swarbrick -- Director of Athletics at Notre Dame -- called an emergency media conference Wednesday night in the wake of the not-really-dead girlfriend scandal. Here are the highlights:
-- Manti is expected to address the media sometime tomorrow (Thursday).
-- Manti called Notre Dame officials on Dec. 26 ... and alerted them to the hoax.
-- According to Swarbrick, Manti realized Lennay Kekua wasn't dead when he got a phone call from her cell phone at an ESPN award show in December ... months after her supposed death.
-- Manti claims the woman who called from "Lennay's" phone was the same person who he had spoken with during his relationship with Lennay.
-- Manti says the woman informed him that Lennay was not dead ... because she was not real.
-- Swarbrick says Manti met with a media team, who had planned to release the story to the media next week ... but they were scooped by Deadspin.
-- Manti told ND officials he had gone to Hawaii to meet Lennay in person on several occasions, but she never showed up.
-- ND believes that Manti was targeted because he's too nice of a guy ... and the perps took pleasure in humiliating him.
Swarbrick also said, "This was a very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax perpetrated for reasons we can't fully understand but had a certain cruelty at its core."
Swarbrick says investigators believe there are numerous people involved in the hoax.