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.

  • Tyrone Lewis gave up bright stages and big paychecks to go back to El Reno and live his American Dream

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Fri, Jul 3, 2015

    EL RENO – Tyrone Lewis made a decision as a freshman at El Reno. He let people know about it, too. “I’m going to be the head coach here,” he would say. It was a quite a proclamation for a kid who’d done anything to get kicked out of school only a few years earlier. Pick a fight. Talk back. He hated being there, so lots of days, he’d find a way out. But wrestling changed all that. Wrestling became his way out. Now, he’s hoping to introduce a new generation to the sport that transformed his life. He became a state champion at El Reno and an All-American at Oklahoma State. He wrestled all around the world and fell just short of the Olympics.

  • Cheers to selling beer at college football games

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

    A couple weeks ago, Texas decided to open the tap to serving alcohol at football games. Among schools that play big-time college football, it becomes the 33rd to sell alcohol throughout its stadium. Even though that's only about a fourth of all Division I schools, the total could be counted on two hands not so long ago. And the total now doesn't include schools like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State selling alcohol in premium seating areas such as suites and clubs. Texas is by far the biggest name on the list of schools selling beer and wine at football games, so it seems like it may only be a matter of time before more follow suit. Cheers to that. Many university leaders including OU president David Boren

  • List of major college football programs selling alcohol in their stadiums continues to grow

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Wed, Jul 1, 2015

      ON TAP Major-college football schools that are expected to sell alcohol throughout their stadiums during the 2015 season:  On-Campus Stadiums Akron Bowling Green Cincinnati Colorado State Houston Kent State Louisiana-Lafayette Louisiana-Monroe Louisville Minnesota Nevada North Texas SMU Syracuse Texas Toledo Troy Tulane UNLV UTEP Western Kentucky West Virginia Off-Campus Stadiums Connecticut Georgia State Hawaii Massachusetts Memphis Miami San Diego State South Alabama South Florida Temple Texas-San Antonio

  • Hype and Hope: Baker Mayfield is the latest quarterback to make headlines before ever taking a Sooner snap

    BY JENNI CARLSON Columnist The Oklahoman | Published: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    First came the lengthy public and often contentious transfer spat with Texas Tech. Then came the revelations that he has smooth dance moves and a Bedlam girlfriend. Most recently, there was the more serious Twitter discourse on racial violence in the aftermath of the church shooting in Charleston, S.C. Baker Mayfield sure has made a lot of headlines for someone who hasn't even been named a starter. Granted, just about everyone with Sooner Nation citizenship believes that is only a matter of time — and many believe stardom is only a matter of time, too — and yet, all of this begs a question.

  • Top Five: Most ballyhooed quarterbacks in OU history

    BY JENNI CARLSON Columnist | Published: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    With Oklahoma quarterback hopeful Baker Mayfield making all sorts of headlines this summer, it got us thinking about the Sooner signal callers who've been most ballyhooed before ever taking a snap in a game.  Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson takes a stab at the quarterbacks who were most hyped before their Sooner careers began. 1. Jack Mildren: Even though he played in the pre-internet days, no quarterback was more revered by the time he arrived at OU. Mildren was the nation's top recruit in 1968 and the focus on a lengthy Sports Illustrated piece that fall. His legend was so great that even though he was ineligible for the varsity as all freshmen were in those days, Sooner fans flocked to the freshmen games to see him

  • People loved Bob Barry Jr. because he loved people

    By JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sun, Jun 21, 2015

    Bob Barry Jr. broke the cardinal rule of sports journalism. Don’t be a fan. Junior was the opposite. He was a cheerleader. He was a booster. He was a supporter. He was unabashed about his fandom, too — he loved people. He was a super fan for his fellow man. Saturday, Junior died when a car that police believe was making an illegal U-turn hit his motor scooter. Sunday, everyone who knew the Oklahoma sports broadcaster woke up hoping that it’d all just been a bad dream. Newspaper headlines and radio tribute shows told us otherwise. As I sifted through messages of grief and remembrance on social media and traditional media, I realized just how far and wide his reach stretched. There were people as

  • Mad Cow: Longhorns look to be suffering from the disease of more

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Thu, Jun 18, 2015

    Texas athletic director Steve Patterson wants more green in the burnt orange coffers. Quick, someone send a doctor. The Horns need a healer. They're suffering from the disease of more.

  • Meet the woman who convinced Courtney Dike's parents to let her play

    BY JENNI CARLSON Columnist | Published: Mon, Jun 15, 2015

    After all, without Lisa Miley, Dike might not be where she is today. The standout high school career at Edmond North? The college scholarship to Oklahoma State, where she has two years remaining? The selection to the Nigerian national team and her first international cap last Friday against Sweden?

  • Former Sooner putting football career on hold for ailing daughter

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Updated: Sat, Jun 13, 2015

    Tavaris Jeffries is used to being in a battle. He is a football player, and an offensive lineman at that. Every time the ball is snapped, whether during his college days at Oklahoma or during his journeyman career in minor-league football, he has to fight. But for the past few weeks, he has been on the sideline. His month-old daughter is the one in the fight now. She needs a heart transplant. "Right now, I really need one of those miracles that I've read about in the Bible or seen on TV," Jeffries said via telephone as he held baby Taylor in her hospital room in Dallas. "Walking on water. Healing the blind. "I need one of those right now.

  • Courtney Dike puts Oklahoma on the World Cup map

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Jun 5, 2015

    By all accounts, Dike (pronounced DEE-kay) will make history in the process as she'll become the first female native Oklahoman to ever play in the World Cup.

  • Lauren Haeger was the face of this Women's College World Series

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Jun 3, 2015

    She was masterful. She was dominant. She was powerful. She was the force — and the face — that propelled Florida to a 4-1 victory against Michigan in the winner-take-all finale of the Women’s College World Series.

  • The story behind Florida's sunflowers at the Women's College World Series

    By Jenni Carlson | Updated: Tue, Jun 2, 2015

    On a night that the Women’s College World Series held its annual Strike Out Cancer night — and Florida beat Michigan 3-2 in the first game of the best-of-3 championship series — pink was a popular color at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. It is the color of breast cancer awareness. But for the Gators, gold is their color.

  • College softball: Changes afoot at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sun, May 24, 2015

    Renovations spanning the better part of a decade, costing millions of dollars and aiming to keep the WCWS in Oklahoma City into the 2030s are in full swing.

  • Collected Wisdom: Mike Davenport, North Georgia softball coach

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, May 23, 2015

    Guthrie High alum spent a year as a student assistant with the Oklahoma State baseball team and then head coach Gary Ward

  • Power Lunch: Chat live with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Updated: Mon, May 18, 2015

    Think the Oklahoma City Thunder can sneak into the top three spots in tonight's NBA Draft Lottery? Want to talk OU softball? Join columnist Jenni Carlson for today's Power Lunch live chat starting at 11 a.m.

  • Former Sooners ace Kelsey Stevens continues the battle back to her old self

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, May 15, 2015

    Stevens was Oklahoma’s ace a year ago, the arm that carried the Sooners on an unexpected trip to the Women’s College World Series. But this season has largely been a painful struggle. She couldn’t find the strike zone. She couldn’t get out of an inning.

  • John Roddick's fire is what fuels the men's tennis team at Oklahoma

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, May 13, 2015

    On the day that OU continues a quest for the program’s first national title, it’s impossible to overstate how far the program has come under Roddick.

  • Randy Heath's 'helping hands'

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Sat, May 9, 2015

    Retiring Oklahoma Christian coach provides a list of some of the men who he considers vital to his career

  • Collected Wisdom: Randy Heath

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, May 9, 2015

    Retiring Oklahoma Christian track and field coach

  • The secret to Oklahoma's 'perfect' freshman pitcher Paige Parker

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Fri, May 8, 2015

    Paige Parker owns a national record-tying four perfect games — as a freshman. Here’s the story of why she’s so good so soon, and how she became a Sooner about the same time she became a teenager.

Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 03 2015 06:35:15 PM CST He gave up college coaching and MMA possibilities to live his American dream. Meet Tyrone Lewis. LINK
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 03 2015 11:28:15 AM CST Wondering where former Oklahoma prep standout Allonzo Trier is in this game today? Here's your answer:
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jul. 03 2015 07:08:41 AM CST See #OKState PG @Hungry_humble0 then!
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 02 2015 01:28:54 PM CST Made me think of this:
Jenni Carlson Thu, Jul. 02 2015 07:23:58 AM CST READ THIS: Could selling beer at college football games actually help curb drunkenness and binge drinking? LINK
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jun. 30 2015 07:48:23 PM CST @ginamizell I see what you did there. #sportowholovesbroadway
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jun. 30 2015 02:34:15 PM CST RT @thatsean: Next up @ryaber will join the #AdamsTheory next to talk Oklahoma, Big 12 growth and OU David Boren. cc: @am1300thezone
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jun. 30 2015 10:50:00 AM CST RT @DMRCyclones: Peterson: Deaths of Jackson Vroman, others often hit Iowa State community at personal level: LINK
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jun. 30 2015 10:12:51 AM CST @Jsp3945 Aw, thanks, Josh! Thanks to you and Kenny for saying hi!!!
Jenni Carlson Mon, Jun. 29 2015 09:28:09 PM CST @CathJSweeney You can go outside without immediately breaking into a sweat. I think we're even.
Jenni Carlson Mon, Jun. 29 2015 09:26:33 PM CST @CathJSweeney OSCN is crazy good.
Jenni Carlson Sun, Jun. 28 2015 07:25:16 PM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Meet the family that guided Cameron Payne to this monumental moment: LINK
Jenni Carlson Wed, Jun. 24 2015 09:47:10 PM CST @anthonyVslater You mean I gotta get on Snapchat now?!? You kids and your crazy social media ... ;)
Jenni Carlson Tue, Jun. 23 2015 05:58:33 PM CST RT @BR_NBA: VIDEO: @celtics’ Marcus Smart drains a half-court shot while laying on his back at his old HS LINK LINK
Jenni Carlson Sun, Jun. 21 2015 05:06:27 PM CST Words fail us at times like these, but here's my best attempt at celebrating the life and legacy of Bob Barry Jr. LINK
Jenni Carlson Sat, Jun. 20 2015 11:20:11 PM CST RT @NewsOK: Longtime sports voice Bob Barry Jr. dies at 58 LINK
Jenni Carlson Sat, Jun. 20 2015 07:29:58 PM CST RT @kfor: It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of our friend and collegegue Bob Barry,Jr. @bbjsports LINK
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jun. 19 2015 07:24:40 PM CST @jksports Thanks, Josh! 40 ain't so bad. :)
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jun. 19 2015 03:40:52 PM CST @Eddie_Rado I think he might've fainted.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Jun. 19 2015 11:37:38 AM CST RT @NewsOKSports: The "Disease of More" is creeping into Texas says @JenniCarlson_OK: LINK #HookEm LINK