Jenni Carlson
Sports Columnist

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football games. Her mom kept the scorebook during baseball games and yelled her head off no matter the sport. They passed along that passion to Carlson and her two younger brothers.

Carlson played golf in high school and planned to play in college, but when she started at the University of Kansas, she decided to focus her attention on journalism. It’s a decision that she’s never regretted.

Her first big story was a profile on Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams for the yearbook, and Carlson has enjoyed interviewing sports figures and sharing their stories every since.
Carlson is a 1997 graduate of Kansas. She and her husband, Ryan, were married in 2009 and live in Oklahoma City. They welcomed their first child, Millie, in June 2012. Carlson was the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media from 2008-10 and chair of the board from 2010-12.

  • Ordeal with Illinois coach Tim Beckman shows it doesn't pay to be mean in college football

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    Tough love isn't dead in college football. But it's sure a lot softer. Or it better be. There was a reminder of that last week, courtesy a familiar face. Former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman is the target of increasing scrutiny at Illinois. His three seasons there have been rough, but now, he is facing allegations from some former players who say he mistreated them and mishandled injuries. The Chicago Tribune chronicled the whole mess. It contacted every player Beckman has coached at Illinois and ultimately interviewed more than four dozen of them. There were some conflicting opinions. Some players like Beckman. Some want nothing to do with him.

  • Former Tuttle, Oklahoma State standout Cooper Bassett still shares special bond with 9-year-old Taylor Brandt

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sat, Aug 1, 2015

    The picture was among the hundreds snapped the night of Cooper Bassett's wedding. None had any more love in them. In the picture, you can see the former Tuttle High football standout turned Oklahoma State football standout. He is hugging a little girl. She has oodles of curly red hair. She is wearing a sparkly purple dress. You can't see her face, but you can see his. And in his expression, you can sense how much Cooper Bassett and Taylor Brandt love each other. She is his Taylor, and he is her Cooper. Still. They met four years ago at one of OSU's Coaches vs. Cancer events. He was a hulking lineman. She was a frail cancer kid. They became fast friends, and about a year later, we told their

  • OKC Thunder: Get ready to get to know Billy the Kid

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Fri, Jul 31, 2015

    Billy Donovan has been the coach in Oklahoma City since April. It’s already been three full months, and with nary a game during that stretch, we’ve had a chance to get to know Donovan.

  • Oklahoma State football rallies around the man they call 'Pitt'

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Updated: Thu, Jul 30, 2015

    STILLWATER — List the names that have been an important part of Oklahoma State football, and you probably won't include Jeff Naple. But ask around the program about those who've made significant contributions, and you will hear his name. Known to Cowboys far and wide simply as "Pitt", he's been part of the football program for nearly three decades. He's the video coordinator, which means he oversees the recording of games and practices, the breakdown of opponents, and the logging of visual data crucial for coaches to scheme and players to learn. "When you first get here, he's one of the first guys you meet," receivers coach Kasey Dunn said Thursday during OSU's annual preseason golf outing. "He's one of the first

  • Ranking the home games on OU's schedule

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Wed, Jul 29, 2015

    Most of Oklahoma's marquee games this season will take place outside of Norman. Tennessee. Texas. Baylor. Oklahoma State. But the biggest games on the Sooners' schedule are the ones at home. For the Sooners to get their program back on track, they need to re-establish home-field dominance.  Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson ranks the Sooners' home games from toughest — and best — to easiest: 1. TCU, Nov. 21: The preseason pick to win the Big 12 comes to town a week before it hosts Baylor. Will the Frogs be driving for a title? Trying to score style points? Either way, the Sooners would score a huge win by beating the Frogs, who used their victory in Fort Worth last season to springboard into the national

  • OU Football: The Sooners' hopes for return to glory begin at home

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Wed, Jul 29, 2015

    NORMAN — A favorite category during preseason predictions is this: biggest game. Look at Oklahoma's schedule, and you'll find plenty of contenders. Tennessee. Texas. Baylor. Oklahoma State. No doubt all of those are marquee match-ups. They've got juicy undertones. They're got sexy storylines. But in terms of importance, none of those games hold a candle to TCU. Or West Virginia. Or Texas Tech, Iowa State, Tulsa or Akron. Those are the Sooners' six home games this season, and if they want to get back in the business of being contenders and winning titles, it has to start at home. They have to win every home game. They have to go undefeated on that Owen Field turf.

  • OKC Thunder: Who looks good in orange?

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    Linda Miller was the fashion editor at The Oklahoman for two-plus decades and writes the Fashion Matters blog, and since it appears the Thunder might be debuting orange alternate jerseys this season, it got us thinking about the fashion ramifications. (Yes, sports writers think about fashion. Scary, right?)

  • OKC Thunder: Ranking the Thunder's alternate jerseys

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson ranks those other jerseys from best to worst:

  • OKC Thunder: Could an orange alternate jersey disrupt the Thunder's Bedlam peace?

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    The Thunder has brought this state together like little else has. Sooners and Cowboys now cheer for the same team. Oklahoma City and Tulsa now agree about something. Heck, people in Oklahoma have even come to love a Texas Longhorn. But could this cats-and-dogs-living-together utopia be getting a test?

  • Ralph Terry: A hall of famer and a gentleman

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Tue, Jul 28, 2015

    Our series on this year's inductees to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame continued today with Ralph Terry. I had the honor of penning this piece. I say honor because I got the chance to meet the former big-league pitcher earlier this year when the induction class was announced, and he struck me as a gentleman of sport. He was so kind and so unassuming. At one point during our interview that day, he mentioned in passing that he taught Tug McGraw, the great screwball pitcher, how to throw a screwball. I had to stop Terry and rewind on that. You taught Tug McGraw to throw a screwball? “I taught him how to throw it, yeah,” Terry said, as boisterous as you'll hear him. "I’m proud of

  • Oklahoma strong: Ralph Terry overcame injury and disappointment several times, and in the process, the big-league pitcher earned a spot among Oklahoma’s best.

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Mon, Jul 27, 2015

    On Aug. 3, Ralpth Terry will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He’ll join gold medalists and world champions and legends of sport.

  • Bill Hancock says the College Football Playoff shouldn't expand, and when the executive director bases his argument on player safety, it's hard to disagree

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    Even though the Hobart native is widely regarded as one of the nicest guys on the planet, he's not about to give fans what they want in this instance. No expansion of the playoff. No more teams in the bracket.

  • You may not like some of the things Shawn Oakman says, but the big man from Baylor has a big personality

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    He didn’t make himself any more loveable this week. On Tuesday, he was asked at Big 12 Media Days what he thought about a fellow defensive terror, Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah.

  • OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Just because the spotlight bypassed OSU at media days doesn't mean it will during the season

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Tue, Jul 21, 2015

    “I think if we play well and take care of the ball that we’ll have an opportunity to win the league,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said

  • Big 12 football: Why Baylor coach Art Briles won Day 2 of Media Days

    BY JENNI CARLSON Staff Writer | Updated: Tue, Jul 21, 2015

    Art Briles has more than filed the good-quote gap in the Big 12 left by Mack Brown's departure from Texas a couple years ago. The Baylor coach lots to say Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. Some of it was fun. Some of it was insightful. Just about all of it was interesting. The College Football Playoff selection committee's decision in December that left you out, did that make you guys at Baylor rethink your non-conference scheduling philosophy at all? Truth be known, I think, if we'd have gone 12‑0, there's no doubt we're in there and we're rolling. So ... if we win all our games, it takes care of itself. The scheduling format, these things are made years in advance.

  • OU's Bob Stoops on Joe Mixon: 'It has been disciplined' with 'significant penalties'

    BY JENNI CARLSON Staff Writer | Published: Tue, Jul 21, 2015

    Violence against women continues to be a significant issue in football – and a significant issue with Oklahoma football. Early in Bob Stoops’ press conference Tuesday morning at Big 12 Media Days, he was asked about the Sooners’ decision not to dismiss running back Joe Mixon. He was involved in an incident last summer in which Mixon punched a female student and broke several bones in her face. Other programs have distanced themselves from players involved in incidents of violence against women. Why, Stoops was asked, haven’t the Sooners distanced themselves from Mixon? “None of it should be tolerated,” Stoops said of violence against women, then added of OU’s decision involving Mixon, “It has been

  • Fear This Frog: How Trevone Boykin transformed his career and turned TCU into the Big 12 favorite along the way

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Mon, Jul 20, 2015

    This year, he's the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. He's also the reason that TCU is favored to win the Big 12 and expected to make a serious run at a national title.

  • Big 12: A look at the Big 12 heading into Media Days in Dallas

    By Jenni Carlson, Kyle Fredrickson and Jason Kersey | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    The Big 12 has made plenty of headlines over the past few months. Should the conference have a title game in football? Should it add any more schools? Should it maintain the status quo? Even though those questions will continue to be asked, we can now ask something else. Are you ready for some football? Monday marks the unofficial beginning to the football season with Big 12 Media Days in Dallas. For two days, players and coaches will try to offer answers about their teams. What are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? How will they fare? Before they take a stab at those questions, allow us to try with our Big 12 primer.

  • Big 12: Jenni Carlson's Preseason Big 12 Rankings

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    JENNI CARLSON, COLUMNIST 1. TCU: The Horned Frogs came out of nowhere last season, but no one is sleeping on them this year. Trevone Boykin has been outstanding in the spread, and Gary Patterson defenses are always stout. 2. OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys have a team and a schedule that will allow them to contend for the league title. Get to November without stumbling, and TCU, Baylor and OU come to Stillwater. 3. BAYLOR: Say hello to Seth Russell. Bryce Petty's replacement has already shown himself capable of leading the Bears' offense. November will be tough, though, with back-to-back road games at OSU and TCU. 4. OKLAHOMA: The Sooners have a new offense and an unnamed quarterback, and still, their biggest

  • Big 12: Jenni Carlson's Preseason Big 12 Bold Predictions

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    1. OU and Texas will both have a loss when they meet in Big D. Lest suspensions or injuries change the landscape a bunch, I like Tennessee to beat OU in Knoxville and Notre Dame to beat Texas in South Bend.  2. Trevone Boykin wins the Heisman Trophy. When TCU goes undefeated in the regular season and Ohio State's candidates take votes from each other, the dual-threat quarterback will win it. 3. Iowa State scores another out-of-the-blue upset. I'm going with Texas in Ames. Iowa State might only have a couple wins by that Halloween game, but I like the Cyclones to wrangle the Longhorns.

Jenni Carlson Mon, Aug. 03 2015 11:31:28 PM CST RT @Tom_Schad: Update: Memphis will hire ex-Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship as an offensive analyst for the 2015 season, per source.
Jenni Carlson Sun, Aug. 02 2015 10:10:29 PM CST @downesphoto This. Is. Horrifying.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 31 2015 08:30:09 AM CST Cowboys far and wide love this guy. And now, they're rallying behind the man named Pitt.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 31 2015 06:34:53 AM CST Cowboys far and wide love this guy. And now, they're rallying behind him.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 31 2015 06:27:49 AM CST RT @jasonkersey: Why late OU football great Kurt Burris was The Boss (via @berrytramel)
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 30 2015 11:30:22 AM CST Sooners want to return to glory? Start by locking down homefield advantage.
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 30 2015 10:16:02 AM CST @OkieFields Hey, Josh, planning to put this in the paper tomorrow. Any chance you have a minute to chat about Pitt today?
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 30 2015 10:11:40 AM CST Another ICYMI: My rankings of the Thunder's alternate unis. Agree? Disagree?
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 30 2015 10:10:29 AM CST ICYMI: Could orange alternate unis for the Thunder upset the Bedlam peace? Rest assured, this got lots of response.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 28 2015 09:54:35 PM CST @Just_Vodka8 Oh, thank you! I am honored to have gotten to meet your granddad. What a great man.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jul. 28 2015 09:22:10 PM CST @Kendallcordell I'm so happy for your whole fam! :)
Jenni Carlson Mon, Jul. 27 2015 05:05:41 PM CST RT @jacobunruh: High school basketball: Londaryl Perry named Millwood girls basketball coach #OKPreps
Jenni Carlson Mon, Jul. 27 2015 03:37:01 PM CST @MCC_Jimmy Enjoy the golf! :)
Jenni Carlson Mon, Jul. 27 2015 03:08:48 PM CST @ErnieV75 Any chance you can email me at Would like some additional info from you.
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