Jenni Carlson
Sports Reporter and 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.

  • OU tennis: Spencer Papa's return to Oklahoma is another stepping stone on the path to his ultimate goal

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Thu, Apr 28, 2016

    Papa is back in Oklahoma, where he first learned the game and where he now plays for OU. Not only is he one of the best players for one of the best college programs in the country, a team that starts its postseason run Friday at the Big 12 Championships in Stillwater, but he is also one of the best young players in the country.

  • OSU football spring game: Cowboys offensive line doesn't show much improvement

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Updated: Sat, Apr 16, 2016

    STILLWATER — Rennie Childs' face suddenly lit up, his eyes wide and his smile wider. His reason for joy? Oklahoma State's offensive line. “It's different,” said one of the Cowboy tailbacks who had the nearly impossible task of running behind a woeful offensive line the past two seasons. “Just over time and playing with each other every single day, they're moving bodies. “They're just playing well.” Could've fooled pretty much everyone at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cowboys finished spring practice with their spring game, a competitive contest that actually resembled tackle football. But on an afternoon that the Black beat the Orange, 23-7, signs of improvement on the

  • OU basketball: What they're saying about the Sooners' Final Four loss to Villanova

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Published: Sat, Apr 2, 2016

    HOUSTON — Here is a look at what players and coaches were saying after Villanova's 95-51 blowout of Oklahoma in the Final Four:  * Oklahoma guard Christian James: "We did not play together. We were static. We did not move the ball. We did not play defense together. They just wanted it more than we did." * Villanova forward Kris Jenkins: "It started with our defense. We were really dialed in and focused on defense, and when we play defense at a high level, it fuels our offense. Defensively, that's the most dialed in I've ever seen our guys." * Villanova coach Jay Wright: "I'm happy we had one of those games where we just make every shot. We had end-of-shot-clock shots we just threw up and went in.

  • OU basketball: Sooners coach Lon Kruger says 'they popped us...then they popped us again'

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Published: Sat, Apr 2, 2016

    HOUSTON — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger led the Sooners back to the Final Four for the first time since 2002. But the journey came to a crashing end Saturday with a 95-51 loss to Villanova. Q: Your team has been so hot during the NCAA Tournament. What changed tonight? A: I thought (Villanova) popped us there in the first half, and we didn't respond very well to that. We came out with a little better fight to start the second half. Villanova withstood that, then popped us again. We didn't handle that very well. Have you ever seen a big game like this snowball like this one did? Oh, it's happened I'm sure. Don't like being a part of that. ... It's very disappointing. You'd like to think you can stand up there and

  • Final Four: Hield's horrible night leaves a sweet career with a sour ending

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Updated: Sat, Apr 2, 2016

    HOUSTON — Buddy Hield got one final serenade from fans. After being whistled for a push-off offensive foul late in Saturday's smackdown, another frustration on a night of more frustrations than you could count, the Oklahoma superstar trudged toward the Villanova end of the court. He walked straight into the cacophony of a sing-song chant from the Wildcat faithful. “Budd-deee! Budd-deee! Budd-deee!” It wasn't the peppy, joyous chant of Oklahoma fans so often heard in games past. It was tormenting. It was taunting. Haunting, too. Much like Hield's performance will be for a long time to come. “Just couldn't get it going,” he said. Neither could the Sooners, losing to the Wildcats 95-51.

  • Will OU have problems shooting on an elevated floor at massive football stadium?

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

    We'll know for sure Saturday night when OU faces Villanova in the national semifinal. But if insider reports from Thursday's closed practice and visual evidence from Friday's open practice is to believed, the Sooners sure seem comfortable on this stage.

  • Final Four: Stadium shooting by the numbers

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

      Playing the Final Four in a football stadium isn't a new phenomenon. The NCAA first put its premier basketball event in a football venue in 1971; it was held in the Astrodome, the building just across the sidewalk from NRG Stadium in Houston. And in the 80s, the Final Four in a football stadium was a regular occurrence. The last time the Final Four was in a basketball arena? That was 1996 at Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J. But it wasn't until 2009 that the Final Four moved to midfield of those football stadiums. Prior to that year, the court was set at one end of the field and a massive wall of temporary bleachers was erected, blocking out a large chunk of the stadium's seats and

  • OU at the Final Four: Sooners' freshman Christian James right at home in Houston

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Published: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

    Oklahoma freshman guard Christian James is home this week. The Houston native is playing in the Final Four only a few miles from his house and his high school. Q: What's it like not only being in the Final Four but also playing in it in Houston? A: I'm very excited. It's indescribable, an indescribable feeling. When I first got here, I got chills in my body. I went home (Wednesday) night. It was crazy. I haven't been home in like five or six months. Mom changed the locks and everything. I was like, "Golly." She changed the house around. I was like, "Geez." It's crazy. Did she change your bedroom? She changed everything. Everything. So, your bedroom is, like, a craft room now? I got a bedroom, but

  • Why fans love Sooners star Buddy Hield

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Updated: Thu, Mar 31, 2016

    During a week in which the Final Four is front and center, the sports world is fawning over Buddy. His skill. His smile. His shot. Fans love all of that, but when we asked fans to tell us what they loved most, a survey tilted heavily toward two characteristics.

  • OU basketball: Khadeem Lattin will play against Villanova despite grandmother's death

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, Mar 31, 2016

    HOUSTON -- Oklahoma center Khadeem Lattin plans to play Saturday after his grandmother died Wednesday night. Brenda Fair died after a short battle with lung cancer. “A couple weeks ago, he took the extra time to come see her,” Sooner coach Lon Kruger said. “He had that opportunity. But it still doesn’t make it any easier because it’s tough. “Khadeem seems to be OK with it. Doesn’t less the sadness that he feels.

  • NCAA Tournament: Khadeem Lattin and the mother who helped him find his voice

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Thu, Mar 31, 2016

    HOUSTON – Monica Lamb marvels when she watches her son talking to reporters, doing interviews and answering questions and smiling as he does. Her wonder isn't because Khadeem Lattin is in the spotlight. Sure, it's fantastic he plays basketball for Oklahoma. Of course, it's wonderful he and the Sooners made it to the Final Four this week in his hometown of Houston. But what makes his mom marvel is the way he speaks. Clearly. Directly. Confidently. He's come so far since being born with a speech impediment so severe he didn't talk until he was almost 2. “If you hear him speak today," his mom said, "you'd never know that it was serious.” She reminds him regularly of the determination he

  • OU basketball: Prepare yourselves, OU basketball fans; the Final Four is only on cable

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Published: Tue, Mar 29, 2016

    We interrupt our coverage of Buddy Hield and Lon Kruger and all things Sooner basketball for this public service announcement. The Final Four will only be on cable. Repeat, the Final Four will only be on cable. Repeat in all caps because this is really important, THE FINAL FOUR WILL ONLY BE ON CABLE. This isn't a drill, people. This is real. For the first time in the 78-year history of the event, none of the Final Four will be shown on a free broadcast network. It won't on CBS like it has been for decades. It won't be as easy as sitting down in front of your rabbit-eared TV and watching the games. If we could activate the Emergency Broadcast System with all those annoying beeps and squeals, we would do

  • Think you know Buddy? Meet Chavano Rainier Hield

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Mon, Mar 28, 2016

    Buddy Hield knows when he's in trouble with his mom or his auntie. "When they get mad at me," he said, "they call me Chavano."

  • Power Lunch: Chat live with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Published: Mon, Mar 28, 2016

  • NCAA Tournament: A by-the-numbers look at OU's 80-68 win over Oregon

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Updated: Sat, Mar 26, 2016

    Oklahoma advanced to its first Final Four since 2002 with an 80-68 victory over Oregon in the Anaheim Regional final on Saturday. Here's a by-the-numbers look at that victory and the forces that produced it: 2 Spot that Buddy Hield now holds in OU history for career points with 2,282. He passed Jeff Webster (2,281) and Tim McCalister (2,275) with his 37 points against Oregon on Saturday. Hield trails only Wayman Tisdale. 2 Spot that Hield now holds in Big 12 history for career points. He passed Texas Tech's Andre Emmett (2,256) on Saturday and is only three points shy of the top spot and Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn (2,285).

  • Oklahoma basketball: Support staff tries to keep Buddy Mania under control

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Fri, Mar 25, 2016

    He recently admitted all the attention, not just from media but from fans, has been difficult at times.

  • Why Mike Holder wanted to apologize to the Sutton family

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, | Updated: Fri, Mar 25, 2016

    “I feel responsible for everything that’s happened over here,” Holder said. “From the way it used to be in the building to the way it is today."

  • OU by the Numbers: Buddy Hield notches first double-double of the season

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Published: Thu, Mar 24, 2016

    1: Double-doubles this season for Buddy Hield, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds Thursday against Texas A&M. 5: 3-pointers for Jordan Woodard, the most he's had in a game since Jan. 23 vs. Baylor. 7: Field goals made by the Aggies in the first 10 minutes of the game. 15: Field goals in the final 30 minutes. 16: Points from the bench, led by Christian James' 12. 23: Assists for the Sooners, whose season average entering the game was 14.4. 30-8: Scoring run for the Sooners over the final 11:41 of the first half. The Aggies never managed to cut the lead to single digits in the second half. 80: Points scored by Hield in three tournament games, more than he scored in his first three NCAA Tournaments.

  • New OSU coach Brad Underwood wants Cowboy fans to come back, feel at home

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Updated: Wed, Mar 23, 2016

    On the afternoon Underwood was formally introduced as the Cowboy coach on the floor of Gallagher-Iba Arena, he professed he already feels a bond with OSU. But even more than that, he let it be known he intends to bond with Cowboys far and wide.

  • Why Buddy Hield and his mom believe in the power of prayer

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist | Updated: Wed, Mar 23, 2016

    Want to know why Buddy Hield is the most beloved player in college basketball? Why he plays with such joy? Why he lives with such exuberance and geniality? It’s the woman praying during the fight song.

Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 10:01:45 PM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Thunder-Spurs Game 1 tip time official: 7:30 CT on TNT.
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 02:26:17 PM CST RT @NewsOK: How the Thunder embraced Enes Kanter the person & extracted the most out of him as a player https://t.c
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 02:10:39 PM CST RT @ErikHorneOK: Join in live right now!
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 10:50:43 AM CST RT @NewsOKSports: Come and talk sports with @JenniCarlson_OK in the Power Lunch live chat at #newsoksports - https:
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 10:39:01 AM CST Who's joining me for the Power Lunch live chat? You know you want to!
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 09:46:55 AM CST @McNeill_Tweets I'll let @jasonkersey correct me if this is wrong, but @ajc is partnering with Cox on this new venture.
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 09:46:17 AM CST @ryaber Would anyone be surprised if @jasonkersey suggested a SECOND going away lunch at Kendall's?
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 09:01:42 AM CST Happy for my friend, @jasonkersey, but sad that we are losing such a good person and stellar professional.
Jenni Carlson Thu, Apr. 28 2016 09:00:56 AM CST @ryaber I think @jasonkersy just wanted us to go to Kendall's ... :(
Jenni Carlson Wed, Apr. 27 2016 01:39:07 PM CST @danielafanatic OK, that's funny! But as far as I know, no bodily functions in this podcast!
Jenni Carlson Wed, Apr. 27 2016 11:49:52 AM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Out latest Thunder podcast wrapping the Mavs series and taking a peek at the Spurs series (also on iTunes): https://t.c
Jenni Carlson Wed, Apr. 27 2016 11:49:48 AM CST RT @OSUBaseball: Due to wet field conditions at Allie P. tonight's game vs. Little Rock canceled. Weekend in Austin up next #okstate https:
Jenni Carlson Wed, Apr. 27 2016 10:47:39 AM CST RT @NewsOKSports: Chat with columnist @BerryTramel at 11 a.m. at #newsoksports -
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 04:57:27 PM CST @utsa72 Ahhhh ha ha! Email me at Let's talk!
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 04:02:51 PM CST What is happening with these playoffs?!?
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 02:56:34 PM CST RT @NewsOKSports: Weather causes postponements throughout high school athletics -
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 02:44:23 PM CST If you live in Tornado Alley, you know the drill. Be weather aware today. Be smart. Be safe.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 02:07:29 PM CST Was gonna try to get in a run before the storms, but that quake got my heart pumping enough that I think I'm good.
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 02:03:58 PM CST @LisaHorne Indeed. Got a little workout without even getting out of my chair!
Jenni Carlson Tue, Apr. 26 2016 02:03:05 PM CST @rikdog72 Thanks! All good. Just got my heart poundin'!