The starting free safety for the Montana Grizzlies football team was arrested early Sunday morning on a charge of misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Matt Hermanson, 21, was booked into the Missoula County Jail at 2:30 a.m. and released on bond a few hours later.

Sheriff Sergeant Jeremiah Peterson said the charge stemmed from damage to two signs in the Fort Missoula area.

“It looks like one sign was broken and another was bent,” Peterson said.

He said he was “fairly positive alcohol was involved.”

Hermanson also had a warrant from the City of Missoula for a $114 speeding ticket.

“I don’t know all particulars,” Montana athletic director Kent Haslam said. “He had a speeding ticket from a few years back that he never resolved and last night he was cited for criminal mischief.”

“We’ll find out more about it and get together as the athletic conduct team and decide what we’ll do,” Haslam said, adding that Coach Mick Delaney can impose additional sanctions if he feels they are warranted.

The junior from Sioux Falls, S.D., recorded four tackles in the Grizzlies’ 47-14 home victory Saturday over Oklahoma Panhandle State. Hermanson is UM’s second-leading tackler through three games with 17, three behind linebacker Brock Coyle.

​Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at or at (406) 523-5240

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(52) comments


Wow, I can't believe the over-reaction I am reading here. I too saw the headline and was disappointed that a dumb decision was made by a player, but it does not deserve the reaction it is getting. It was a stupid move made by a 21 year old kid that is very regretful for making the poor decision he made. The team does a lot of great things for this community but since it isn't newsworthy we never hear about it. And the comment about if you support the Griz, you are in favor of rape and crime is pretty outlandish. That's like saying if you support the right to own a handgun you support murder, or if you are a catholic you support child molestation. Hermanson will own up to his mistakes and grow and learn from them.


OK, He got out of control , Happens. If he learns from it and gets better "GREAT." I went to the GAme and just had a good time with all the GRIZ FANS. Cant wait for some big play off games. Hope Hermanson learns and is in the mix . GO GRIZ

Don't Care
Don't Care

A bunch of rapist and felons. I'm ashamed to have graduated from the UM. If you support the griz you saying you are in favor of rape and crime.

Don't Care
Don't Care

A bunch of rapist and felons. I'm ashamed to have graduated from the UM. If you support the griz you saying you are in favor of rape and crime.


What has happened to the super cool city of tolerance that I lived in back in the late '80's? A 21 year old had a few too many "pops" and vandalised some signs, not exactly the Lindburgh kidnapping. Legally, if he's found guilty he takes the slap on the wrist, we are all equal in the eyes of the law. As a player, I am sure the team and the university has policies in place to discipline players who make mistakes.
On a side note, the U of M that I love is made up of the contributions of athletes, academics, hippies, cowboys, artists, locals, and people from all over the world. This 100% for Griz football or 100% against it, smacks of the bi-partisanship that gridlocks the political system.

Alan Johnson

Well said

Nikki's Niece

I propose that we all collect donations to supplement the salary of the highest paid public official in Montana, namely UM President Royce Engstrom at $289,000 annually, and that of his $147,000 a-year vice-president for integrated communications, in the hopes that between them they might find a way to keep UM out of the embarrassing news department for one week. (Last week it was enrollment figures.) Principals of the smallest elementary schools in the state proudly exhibit better and more successful institutional management skills than what we are forced to witness here at the University of Montana.

Been There

It's time UM admitted that it really doesn't pick the best young men for the football team. Kids look up to these athletes(?). Of all of the universities in Montana, UM makes the news more often for athlete thugs. After the recent rape trial (what a travesty), apparently some of the football players seem to think anything goes.


Yes, UM does make the paper more than any other MT University, that is because UM is the only University in MT that anybody cares about..... Also, keep in mind that about 50% of the things that made the newspaper, we later found out never happened, so it feels like there have been far more incidents than there really have. Kids do look up to these athletes, and they are told time and time again to conduct themselves in an above average manner, MOST of them do, and have throughout their lives; but out of the 100 kids that are doing this, it's very typical to have 2-3 that do not, just as it is at every university, in and out of MT. The difference is, when this happens at MT Tech, it's handled internally, may not even make the police blotter. From a recruiting standpoint, unless you start a "tuck-in" service, there is no way to control a 21 year old's mind, who has likely had too much to drink, not a recruiting issue at all, period. I will agree the rape trial was a complete joke and a travesty, and it showed athletes all around that even if you do not commit a crime, because of your status, you may be brought to trial anyways; this did not provide free reign to anybody. The kid made a mistake, just like most kids, and if he learns from it, lets all move on, if not, it's time for HIM to move on.


Why not try to harnass his senseless propensity for violence to the team's advantage? He has rage issues which should be dealt with through medication and counselling and of course a one game suspension. A hard hitter in the secondary is a terrible thing to waste. The griz could use some pizzazz. Next strike he's out. Until then, he can make a contribution. A story of redemption or maybe failure. It will make a good sidebar story when we win the national championship and he's still on the team.


Shut down the program for a year ALUM????? You want your university back? It never went anywhere. perhaps we should shut down the entire university cause there are plenty of kids getting in trouble at the U outside of football. I still think they ought to sit him down for a while as in our program, with all the wingnut tree hugging granolas around calling for an end to the have to find a better way to vent players...but please don't be ridiculous here football haters....where do you think half the new buildings came from on campus? Not from the Montana Legislature...thats for sure..came from alumni dollars from rich folks who love the athletic program...Griz Lady Griz and the U...before football was so popular you did not see those contributions nearly as high as today. That is why more is expected of the players and they ought to be paid something for all the work they put in...then you don't have a $104 past due ticket while the U pads the coffers with money made on these kids backs....still have to behave or sit down for a while..maybe even off the team this year.


Honestly this not even worth reporting on. Should have been filed it in the police blotter and thats it.

Bass Whacker

Those of you looking for perfection in student atheletes only do so out of hate for the program. If you don't think his teammates are disciplining him now you know nothing of the current make-up of this team. He will pay for his mistakes and learn (hopefully), and if not the consequences from his teammates and the coaches will be progressively severe. Just like things happen in the real world. On the other hand, if MF and you other perfectionists want to lead by example and volunteer for life at Deer Lodge as punishment for your next error in judgment, no matter how small, maybe I'll change my mind and go zero tolerance....


Griz players need to conduct themselves better, maybe should even have to take civil service and behavior cources. But also maybe he didnt have to be perhaps the police have more serious matters to attend to on sat nights like drunk driving.


Hermanson is a product of the environment. As long as the Missoula populace continue to jersey worship these kids they will continue to think they are above accountability. Engstrom if you had an ounce of leadership/guts in you, you would shut this program down for a year to get these guys attention. Obviously, what you have done in the past is not working! During that year off make all the FB players pay there own tuition so they understand how real student have to live. Maybe that will bring them back down to earth. My sincere hope is that some day the UM will gain the reputation as an excellent educational institution instead of a second level, win at all cost football program. I WANT MY COLLEGE BACK!


How about just holding the troublemakers accountable, instead of punishing the whole team? I say kick him off the team if he's found guilty. That will get their attention without shutting down the whole program - which ain't gonna happen.


"......instead of punishing the whole team? I say kick him off the team..."

Ummmmm, well actually that is punishing the whole team. Kid made a mistake, he knows that and will learn from it. No one got hurt, he didn't give the Officers any trouble. He should have known better and now hopefully he does.


"....As long as the Missoula populace continue to jersey worship these kids....."


Please elaborate and cite some examples if you would. Thank you kindly.


2:30 a.m.? Perhaps a curfew-Midnight? Hey coach, nothing good happens after midnight.

MT Cosmo
MT Cosmo

Zero tolerance


while it is disappointing that any young person would vandalize any object private or public owned, the fact is they are young and they are prone to dumb choices.
he bent a sign folks , he didnt rape anyone he didnt steal a car.
maybe his girlfriend just said see ya and that was his way to vent ..
not condoning it but dont sit behind your computer and act like none of you ever did stupid things when you were young
I fully agree that Mic should hammer him and the rest of the team should also be punished
in my years as a coach we lived on the word TEAM ,, if one is praised all share the praise
is one is punished ALL are punished
I guarantee if the whole team has to do additional running training etc ,,, maybee at the field on a late Sunday ,, open for fans to come and watch and let them know were disappointed ..
things will change
Please have some faith in the coaches and see what happens before spouting off with all the negative comments
again just an opinion

Dr Kenneth Noisewater

Just another September Saturday night in Missoula. I'd expect nothing more than a wink and a slap on the wrist. Everyone knows football is what drives this town and this university, including the football players.


The kid has a speeding ticket, drank too much and broke a sign. I would expect him to get the same punishment from the law that anybody else with no criminal history would recieve, likely a slap on the wrist at most. However, a football player is held to a higher standard than the general public as they recieve more accolades from the public on a regular basis. I am sure because of this, he will get the same punishment from the coaches/team, that anybody else would get on even their first minor offense, which will be far from a slap on the wrist. I am thinking a one game suspension, and a public appology to the team and whoever the vandalism damage was caused to. This would be sufficient for me, again it's a speeding ticket and binge drinking, I'm not quite ready to string him up or ruin his life over it. They are kids, kids with a high standard yes, but in the end kids. They are growing up and learning like every other college kid, if he learns his lesson great, if not, agreed, we can have a different conversation.

Dr Kenneth Noisewater

Holding a person accountable for their actions by not letting them play football is not ruining their life. In fact, I would argue that a lesson in personal accountability is preparing a young man for success in the real world. Back in my day, we called that tough love.

Alan Johnson

Holding accountable does not mean the maximum penalty as a matter of course. I think this coaching staff will fit the punishment to the offense. Mick Delaney is that kind of guy and so are his assistants.


Completely agree Alan. I have no doubt this coaching staff will take the proper steps and fairly punish the player as they would with any player. As hard as these kids work year round for 10 weeks of action, taking away a single game would be painful enough. I'm all for accountability, even for "tough love" at times, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here, I've never heard of this kid's name in the newspaper for anything but good. In summary the punishment should fit the crime, and I'm sure it will.


Get lost Hermanson. We don't need people like you representing our school and our city. I'm so sick of this b.s....I'm getting embarrassed to admit that I even attend that gosh darn school.


This was not a Griz athlete.

This was a Griz football player.

It is time to make a clear distinction between the two in order to keep blame squarely where it belongs.

Do not dilute the significance of the contribution football makes to the cancer of crime and violence by combining the statistics with every other student athlete.


Unfortunately, this is common in all sports. Percentage-wise, from a successful recruited class, there is going to be approximately 2-3% that is unable to make good decisions from time to time. The basketball team had some issues right after the season ended, the griz soccer team had so many issues a few years ago, that they did actually have to incorporate a "no-alcohol" policy in season, they signed a contract and everything saying if they used alcohol or drugs, they would be kicked off the team, and lose their scholarship. Something like this may be coming for the football team as well, and I don't think it would be a bad idea right now. But just because football gets all the press, don't think this isn't common in every sport, at every school, other sports just do not get the same attention, and that is reasonably a higher level of responsibility for the football team, I hope they get this worked out soon!


Here is the chance to make a statement to your team for the rest of the season - this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated on the Griz team. I'm hoping they will seize the opportunity.


I agree but let the legal process play out. He should be disciplined by the coach based on the fact he put himself in this position. How severe the penalty? Wait until due process is exhausted. That is the mistake Engstrom made the first time.


im sure they can play out the legal process until the end of the season. same old garbage.


Play out the legal system? For what, $100 traffic violation and breaking a sign? He's going to pay a misdeanor fine, pay for the damage to the sign, pay his parking ticket, and be on his way; just like anybody else in the country would...


Oh geez. Here we go again. I'd like to suggest that this young man be paraded into center field at our next home game, where he will strip off his jersey and present it to his coach, and then apologize to the entire team and all of the Missoula fans. Maybe that would get any other player's attention about keeping their noses clean on Saturday nights. Should he be permanently cut from the team? No. Not unless he does something like this again.

Alan Johnson

Sad. Of course he is entitled to his presumption of innocence as far as the formal charges go. The coaching staff will make its own decision today on whether team rules were violated, and take action. I'm sure the coaching staff will show zero tolerance. I'm sure the team as a whole is very much aware of how much in the spotlight it is. Remember that the nearly all the team does not get arrested for anything. Being a Grizzly is a high privilege. It requires better standards of conduct than for the average student. No one is too important to the team to avoid consequences.


I love fall. It's that time of year when the same tired bunch of incompetent people get up and wring their hands and apologize yet again for taking our money and being unable to keep their program out of the news and their kids out of jail.


Totally agree with some other comments here...send a message. To be a Griz athlete you have to be better than the average in your personal life and make good decisions. Vandalism is not a good decision. Off the team for good. Be stupid on your time. The team does not need this kind of distraction.


Go back to SD Matt, we don't want you setting any more bad rep for MT football any more! You can drink and be a raging alcoholic all you want there. You're outa here! Mick, please send his butt packing. Maybe if he cleans up his act in time Joe Glenn will take you on at SD.


Strange story. Was he caught in the act? There was some driving? Just the fact a Griz player is alleged to commit another crime is extremely disturbing. These players aren't thugs they are idiots. They have witnessed team mates dragged through both the court of public opinion and law, and they still show up in the middle of trouble. WOW! How sad!


Perhaps someone ought to point out to Mr Engstrom, his faculty and all of his staff that the UM, including the athletic department, is not above the laws of Missoula and Montana that the everyone else is obliged to follow.


He is not guilty of the criminal mischief as of yet and obviously was not charged with DUI but how stupid to be beating up signs.....that sounds a little bizarre to me. Hopefully a booster did not make his bail for him..sheesh is this never going to end and the players just play and stay out of trouble for a few months???? Hopefully this is over zealous police officers who caught him in the area etc etc...just getting tired of this Griz. Go home and go to bed.


And so it begins. If the Griz athletes really want a better image, maybe they could develop their own, "living honorably" pact during their own respective seasons at least. It could include no violence, no drugs, no alcohol and a reasonable curfew (the no alcohol policy will take care of most of the no violence policy, right?). Every team member signs, every team member does their best to adhere to it and every team member answers to their peers and coaches if they violate it, even if the police aren't involved. There was a time when high school and college players were subject to such rules and actually proud of themselves because of it. (Imagine that!) As an alumni of UM, I understand the "party while we're young" culture, but later, those are not the things you remember from college. You really, can't take a few months off from it and live clean, just for the privledge of playing sports? Seriously, wouldn't it be nice to see the athletes themselves take control and decide they want to be better? Allright, back to reality.


These policies are pretty much already in place. Violence is absolutely prohibited. Drugs are tested for regularly. There isn't a curfew (yet..) or an alcohol ban. A few of these guys have kids, families, and are "grown ups," it's hard to believe they cannot act in a responsible manner all the time, but it's simple statistics when dealing with 100+ athletes. I have heard of alcohol bans in college, and if the trend continues, I could see UM doing something similar; it would be a shame for the majority that enjoy alcohol responsibly, but they may have no choice soon. As far as their image, this is made by the media. If they published everything good that the Griz players / program did in the community, there would be multiple articles per DAY, but we never miss getting right on top of a misdeamenor... that's just the way media works today, and it is also a known responsibility for all players that they do not have the same "due process" as the general public, and need to carry themselves in that manner.

trad man

Same old same old, when will this stupid university get a policy to kick out the thugs they have on the football team???? When is enough enough, say good bye to the president as he is a do nothing , care about nothing idiot we do not need in Missoula or any other University for that matter! Why do you think they have to revert to this type of players??? Mean while I know several Montana kids that are getting paid to go to the other Universities in MT. good by Mr. I forgot your name Pres.


Here we go again...


Yep, a minor violation that happens to about 10% of college students every weekend at every University happened to a Griz football player. Start the complete overreaction and mindless plural use of "thugS" and "felonS".... Here we go again indeed..


You let your team and many others down kid. Some petty stuff likely similar to things most of us have done in our younger days but you really should have known better.


Man just when you would think some of these guys would get it thru their brains one of them does something stupid. If Mick wants to get the rest of the teams attention he should kick Hermanson off the team. I bet there would not be another issue all year. Griz can make it deep into the play offs and even the championship if they are not in the same bracket as NDS.


....and what if they make it to the big game.....and it's against NDSU?


I think that will happen as long as they are not in the same bracket. NDSU is going to be a tough opponent to beat. Would make a great championship game tho. Wow I just reread my first post it is riddled with lack of proper grammar and punctuation.

Griz time

I am big griz fan for many years, we really want to support our team and university. This story is very disappointing to say the least, we spend so much money on game day and really gear our lives to support the team . This reflects poorly on the whole football team from the coaches on down, not to mention a junior starter who signs autographs for our young people after games. I would hope there would be zero tolerance for this type of behavior and consequences that reflect that. There are so any quality young men on this team and I have to think this kind of distraction is very unfortunate for them.

Waltzing Matilda

I have faith that Coach Delaney will do the right thing and send Hermanson packing.

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