Use of Time wrote:
Te'o's comment holds no water as the timeline outlined by Deadspin has him on record as saying that they physically met at Stanford.
This is the part that is going to need to be explained. On the one hand, he never actually was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying he had met her; that could have been an embelleshment/assumption by Sports Illustrated. For example, he says "I was contacted by her on twitter after the Stanford game, she saw me from the crowd", but SI writes "It was on a cold day in August outside the stadium that they met for the first time."
There's also the quotes from the father about meeting the girl in Hawaii.
In the end, it could all come down to embarrassment that he had never met his "girlfriend" in real life, something which unfortunately isn't uncommon in this day and age. Online dating is very huge. A successful football player might not want to give interviews proclaiming he's been engaged in a long term relationship with someone he'd never met. So he tells a fib.
The whole situation is bizarre, though, and was blown way out of proportion by the media who failed to fact check in the first place.