MISSOULA — University of Montana free safety Matt Hermanson has been suspended for the Northern Arizona game on Saturday after being arrested for criminal mischief.
Hermanson, 21, of Sioux Falls, S.D., pleaded not guilty in Justice Court Monday to charges that he damaged road signs near Fort Missoula. He remains free on $500 bond.
Attorney Paul Ryan said Hermanson also pleaded guilty to an earlier, unrelated speeding citation and paid a reduced fine of about $75.
“Matt feels terrible about this,” Ryan said. “We anticipate fixing the issue as far as any damages are concerned as quickly as we can and to come to a quick and speedy resolution to this case.”
Court records say the deputy who arrested Hermanson reported he was intoxicated, shirtless and thought he was in his home state of South Dakota.
Hermanson told jail officers he had been out with friends, drank too much and “somehow ended up alone and on foot,” court records said.
A deputy saw someone throw a large, white object onto Old Fort Road at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and contacted Hermanson, leading to his arrest. One sign was broken while a speed zone sign was folded. The deputy was able to bend the sign back to its correct position.
The team announced Hermanson’s suspension Monday afternoon, citing a violation of the student-athlete conduct code. The university statement also included an apology from Hermanson.
“I know it is a privilege to be a Grizzly student-athlete and that we are held to a high standard,” the statement read. “I am honored to be a student at the University of Montana. I am anxious to resolve this issue and move forward.”
Hermanson starts at free safety and is Montana’s second-leading tackler.
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