Montana reinstates Johnson to football team

The University of Montana reinstated quarterback Jordan Johnson to the football program on Tuesday, less than a week after he was acquitted on a rape charge.

Johnson, a 20-year-old junior from Eugene, Ore., was found not guilty on Friday in a case involving a female UM student who accused him of raping her on Feb. 4, 2012 as the two watched a movie at her home.

The university suspended Johnson from the football program last season, but he appealed his return over the weekend and appeared before the UM athletic conduct team on Monday. UM president Royce Engstrom also approved the reinstatement.

"He is back on the team effective immediately," the university said in a statement.

Johnson was the starting quarterback on the 2011 Montana team which shared the Big Sky Conference title and reached the FCS national semifinals in an 11-3 season.

The Johnson case has been the most high-profile during a tumultous period at the university.

UM is is under NCAA and federal investigations for the manner in which rape allegations are handled on campus, investigated by police and prosecuted by the Missoula County attorney's office.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz has said her investigation found nine alleged rapes or sexual assaults involving students occurred between September 2010 and December 2011.

Amid the troubles on campus, UM fired athletic director Jim O'Day and head football coach Robin Pflugrad last March.

Pflugrad's successor, second-year head coach Mick Delaney, will lead the Grizzlies through spring football drills beginning on March 18.