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.




  • NCAA Volleyball Championships by the numbers: Penn State wins seventh national title

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Here’s a look at some of the key numbers for the NCAA Volleyball Championships.

  • NCAA Volleyball Championships: Penn State's Micha Hancock gets fairy-tale ending to her storied career

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Penn State won the NCAA volleyball championship, defeating BYU 3-0, and the Oklahoma kid got a night she’ll never forget.

  • NCAA Volleyball Championships: Micha Hancock makes impact in semifinal match for Penn State

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Thu, Dec 18, 2014

    Penn State standout and Edmond Memorial alum Micha Hancock wasn’t the offensive star or the defensive stalwart in a 3-1 victory against Stanford. But as always, the attack-minded setter impacted every part of the national semifinal match. Saturday, she and her Penn State teammates will play for their second consecutive national title. How did you handle the emotions of playing such a big match back at home? “It was emotional for me to even see, like, our send-off. Our band, they came out. It was like, ‘What am I doing? I have a semifinal match.’ I was like, ‘No more of this crybaby crap. I’m going to zone in, and I’m going to play hard for my team.’” Your big serve started off great in the first set,

  • NCAA Volleyball Championships: BYU has OKC looking like Cinderella City again

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Thu, Dec 18, 2014

    BYU upended Texas at the NCAA Volleyball Championships and became the first unseeded team to ever make the national title match. And the Cougars left no doubt that they deserved a spot in Saturday’s final, walloping the Longhorns 3-1.

  • For many Capitol Hill alumni, the nickname Redskins is a point of pride, not derision.

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    For the better part of nine decades, youngsters on the south side of the city couldn’t wait to go to Capitol Hill. The school was among the area’s best both athletically and academically, and everything about it was a source of pride. That includes the mascot and the nickname that the Oklahoma City Public school board voted to remove.

  • OSU football: Tyreek Hill has no place in the OSU football program

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Updated: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

    COMMENTARY — In less than a week, Oklahoma State speedster Tyreek Hill has gone from a Bedlam hero to no longer being on the football and track teams. Hill was arrested Thursday and charged Friday with a felony count of domestic assault and battery by strangulation. He allegedly punched his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and the face.

  • OSSAA has a huge mess on its hands

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    If Ed Sheakley and Mike Whaley were listening, they will return to OSSAA headquarters with an edict — no more making up things as they go.

  • It's time for the OSSAA to consider some changes to help officials

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    No system will alleviate all issues with officials, but there are some things they could do to improve things.

  • OSU football: What the Cowboys were saying after a 38-35 OT win over No. 18 Oklahoma

    COMPILED BY JENNI CARLSON, Staff Writer, jcarlson@opubco.com | Published: Sat, Dec 6, 2014

    NORMAN — Oklahoma State improved to 6-6 and 4-5 in Big 12 Conference play after Saturday’s 38-35 overtime win over Bedlam rival Oklahoma. Here’s a look at what OSU players and coaches had to say after the game: Head coach Mike Gundy: “Obviously, that was a great win for our team. I was very proud of their competitiveness and willingness to come down and fight.” Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich on quarterback Mason Rudolph: “There was a couple mental errors that he had which are simple and very correctable. But other than that, I think there were times where he made quality throws.” Return man Tyreek Hill on the vibe of the team: “Adversity, we just tune it all out. At practice, we just practice

  • Oklahoma State football: How Mike Gundy danced his way right back into Cowboy hearts

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Sat, Dec 6, 2014

    COMMENTARY — From the way he’d been acting and his team had been playing, it was natural to wonder if Mike Gundy had fallen out of love with his “New York Yankees job.” But Gundy used the occasion of Oklahoma State’s 38-35 overtime win over Oklahoma to renew his vows.

  • OSU football report card: Much-maligned offensive line gets high marks after Bedlam win

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sat, Dec 6, 2014

    Lots to like from Oklahoma State in this Bedlam thriller — nothing more than the final score. The Cowboys won 38-35 in overtime, and folks who’ve been much maligned get big props this week. OFFENSIVE LINE: A The OSU offensive line was going without its best guy. Daniel Koenig was hurt and unavailable. But with one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen largely holding down the fort, the offensive line was stellar when it counted most. In overtime, those guys blew open holes for Desmond Roland, powering through a defensive line that had been a Sooner strength. The OSU offensive line has been dragged through the mud this season, but on Saturday afternoon, these guys deserve to get their names in the paper for lots of good

  • Bedlam failure overshadows the good Mike Gundy has done for OSU football

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    Granted, that lone Bedlam victory was a big one. It gave the Cowboys their only Big 12 title, nearly propelled them to the national championship game and is as significant as any win in program history. Still, only beating the Sooners once — and pundits, oddsmakers and fans alike believe Gundy won’t add to that total Saturday — that isn’t good enough.

  • Power Lunch: Chat live with columnist Jenni Carlson

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    Come talk Bedlam football, Thunder basketball, Douglass/Locus Grove and more with columnist Jenni Carlson. She'll be taking your questions live starting at 11 a.m.

  • It's too late if OSSAA board is worried about opening Pandora's box

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Dec 3, 2014

    I’ve got news for the board and all the folks at the OSSAA — that particular container has been wide open for several years.

  • With the nation watching, Douglass football awaits its next play

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Tue, Dec 2, 2014

    Just outside the football locker room at Douglass High, Willis Alexander and Larry Joubert stood broad shoulder to broad shoulder. Every time one of their players emerged from the sea of teen humanity and headed toward the locker room door, the coaches pointed them to the other side of the hallway. “Weight room, son,” Alexander said. It wasn’t their routine. Get changed. Lift weights. Watch film. Practice. That was normal. But since Friday night and a disputed ending in a playoff loss to Locust Grove, nothing has been normal. Their coach went on a postgame rant, calling out the officials as well as state administrators.

  • Douglass football awaits its next play, with the nation watching

    By Jenni Carlson | Updated: Tue, Dec 2, 2014

    Just outside the football locker room at Douglass High, Willis Alexander and Larry Joubert stood broad shoulder to broad shoulder. Every time one of their players emerged from the sea of teen humanity and headed toward the locker room door, the coaches pointed them to the other side of the hallway. “Weight room, son,” Alexander said. It wasn't their routine. Get changed. Lift weights. Watch film. Practice. That was normal. But since Friday night and a disputed ending in a playoff loss to Locust Grove, nothing has been normal. Their coach went on a postgame rant, calling out the officials as well as state administrators.

  • After all he's been through, Matt Grice is still a fighter

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Rising MMA star and former four-time state high school wrestling champion Matt Grice suffered a traumatic brain injury a little over a year ago in a car accident while training for a big fight in UFC 166. Now, Grice knows he’ll never be cleared to fight again, but he still has plenty to be thankful for.

  • Crossings Christian football coach adds a member of his team to his family

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    Chris and Sarah Roberts use the words interchangeably. Team is family. Family is team. But over the past few months, team and family intertwined in a way that the football coach at Crossings Christian School and his wife never would’ve imagined. They have expanded their home team by adding a member of their football family. Crossings linebacker Christian Osterhout is now part of Team Roberts. After his dad died a few years ago, Christian became a regular at Chris and Sarah’s house. An already solid relationship was cemented earlier this fall when Christian’s mom died, too. “Nobody said it would be easy,” Sarah said of expanding a family that already included three biological children and one

  • OU football: Samaje Perine turned a miserable day into one of the best in Sooners history

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Updated: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    COMMENTARY — It would have been easy to write off Saturday as a wash — bad weather, bad opponent, sparse attendance. But true freshman running back Samaje Perine did his part to make the day memorable, rushing for an NCAA Division-I record 427 yards.

  • OU football report card: Sooner fans rewarded with good grade to go along with record-breaking performance

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    An impressive 44-7 victory against Kansas in less-than-stellar conditions. The grades reflect what we saw on the field and in the sky. BLOCKING: A Simply spectacular. As awesome as Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine was, there were many carries where he was untouched or pretty darn close to it. It started on his first carry, a 49-yard touchdown, and it continued throughout his assault on the NCAA record. The Sooner offensive line dominated so completely the starters deserve to be mentioned by name. Ty Darlington. Nila Kasitati. Adam Shead. Tyrus Thompson. Daryl Williams. Throw in fullback Aaron Ripkowski, and it is becoming obvious — this is a team better suited to run the ball.




Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 10:59:16 PM CST @StaceyDales That's the spirit. ;) Some days I have to just keep reminding myself I get to cover sports for a living, and it's pretty cool.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 10:55:04 PM CST @StaceyDales Aren't people neat? Hope you are well!
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 08:11:27 PM CST Micha Hancock named all-tourney team, but this year's MVP is her teammate, Megan Courtney. The beanpole was a powerhouse hitter.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 08:10:31 PM CST Penn State is your national champion. Rolled through the past couple months. Just continued that roll in OKC, losing just one set.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:59:28 PM CST The wheels have come off for BYU. All sorts of errors, down 18-8.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:55:53 PM CST Penn State has a title in its sights. Already up 13-7 in the third.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:33:47 PM CST Now, Penn State only ONE set from a title. Wins the second 26-24. Some really fun action in that set. Great rallies.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:27:46 PM CST Penn State kept chippin', chippin', chippin' at the lead, and now, it has tied up BYU at 20 in the second set.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:18:57 PM CST Now, Penn State forces BYU to take a timeout after rallying off three straight points, pulling to within 13-11 in the second.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:16:56 PM CST I think Hamson surprised Penn State as much as her setter.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:16:36 PM CST BYU forces a Penn State timeout, leading 12-8. BYU big gal Hamson just scored a kill over her unsuspecting setter, who was ready to hit over
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:08:26 PM CST In case you missed it, Micha Hancock was named national player of the year. Definitely living up to it tonight. A maestro for Penn State.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 07:03:45 PM CST Penn State takes the first set, 25-21. Nittany Lions now only two sets from national title No. 7.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 06:59:09 PM CST Penn State only a couple points from winning this first set. Up 23-18 right now. Very businesslike.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 06:49:26 PM CST Penn State up 15-11 in the first set. Keeping BYU kill machine Jennifer Hamson in check. Also avoiding BYU's blockers. Good stuff by PSU.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 06:38:24 PM CST Fittingly, Edmond gal Micha Hancock opens the match on serve.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Dec. 20 2014 06:25:37 PM CST Greetings from The Peake. Time to crown us a champ in NCAA Volleyball. Penn State and BYU in final warm-ups.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Dec. 19 2014 09:42:00 PM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Russell Westbrook v Ronnie Price seems to be a matchup that should favor the Thunder. We'll see.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Dec. 19 2014 09:41:42 PM CST RT @CliffBruntAP: My NCAA volleyball finals preview, featuring #PennState's Micha Hancock. LINK
Jenni Carlson Fri, Dec. 19 2014 09:18:10 PM CST RT @NewsOKSports: Thunder vs. Lakers coming up! Follow our live coverage with @anthonyVslater: LINK