Sources connected to Te’o say … it’s true what ND Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said Wednesday night, that Manti realized he had been hoaxed on Dec. 6, when he got a phone call from “Lennay” … months after he thought she was dead.

But sources tell us … Manti didn’t tell his coaches about the hoax until Dec. 26 … because he thought it would be a huge distraction while the team prepared to face Alabama in the BCS Championship.