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.




  • Baylor scandal a black eye on the Big 12?

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Thu, May 26, 2016

    The commissioner for Big 12 just happened to be down the street when news of Baylor firing football coach Art Briles came Friday morning. Bob Bowlsby has been posted up at the Big 12 baseball tournament this week, so our man Ryan Aber talked to him about Briles' firing (as well as several other important issues facing the league). You can read that story here. The most interesting thing Bowlsby said? The Baylor scandal is a black eye on the entire Big 12. There's no doubt that league school's association with Baylor has a residual effect. People see Baylor on a helmet or jersey, and they immediately identify the Bears as part of the Big 12.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Thu, May 26, 2016

    Talk OU, OSU and the Thunder with columnist Jenni Carlson in today's Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Thu, May 19, 2016

    Talk about OU, OSU and the Thunder with columnist Jenni Carlson in today's Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Tue, May 10, 2016

    Join columnist Jenni Carlson to talk OU, OSU and the Thunder in today's sport chat at 11. am.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Wed, May 4, 2016

    Join columnist Jenni Carlson to talk OU, OSU, the Thunder and more from the NBA playoffs in today's Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • OU Football: Baker Mayfield busts a move ... again

    OU Football: Baker Mayfield busts a move ... again

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Tue, May 3, 2016

    Baker Mayfield's moves are well documented. He's done the whip in front of his teammates. He's led the Dougie in the locker room at Tennessee. He's even danced (and lip-synced) to Katy Perry at a fundraiser in Norman.  So, of course, the Oklahoma quarterback had to take it to another level. As part of the athletic department's big all-sports awards night last week, a series of fun, spoof videos were done. Gymnasts playing football. Football players playing baseball. And football players doing gymnastics. (You can see where this is heading.) Mayfield and former Sooner Nila Kasatati star in the football-players-doing-gymnastics video along with a cameo by Sooner women's

  • OU Football: So, who is this Otis Sullivant on Eric Striker's award?

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Mon, May 2, 2016

    Eric Striker was formally presented the Otis Sullivant Award on Monday afternoon. We found out recently that the former Oklahoma football standout had been named the winner of the university award. He made history in the process as the first athlete to receive the honor, which has been given to campus leaders of all ilks down through the years. For his role in helping the campus heal after the SAE video controversy, Striker was a more-than-worthy recipient. But in hearing about this award, I got to thinking -- who is Otis Sullivant? I know I haven't lived in Oklahoma as long as many of you, but I've been here going on two decades and have been paying attention most of the time.

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

    OU tennis: Spencer Papa\'s return to Oklahoma is...

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Thu, Apr 28, 2016

    Get inside the mind of columnist Jenni Carlson about everything OU, OSU and the Thunder in the Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Mon, Apr 18, 2016

    Join Jenni Carlson to talk OU, OSU and the Thunder in today's 11 a.m. live chat.

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

    OU basketball: What they\'re saying about the...

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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'

    OU basketball: Sooners coach Lon Kruger says...

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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

    Final Four: Hield\'s horrible night leaves a...

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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?

    Will OU have problems shooting on an elevated...

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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

    Final Four: Stadium shooting by the numbers

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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

    OU at the Final Four: Sooners\' freshman...

    By Jenni Carlson, Columnist, jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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

  • OU basketball: You know Lon Kruger, but do you know 'Slick'?

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

    Late in Lon Kruger's press conference Friday, he was joined on the dais by his five starters. He probably wishes he hadn't been -- they got some dirt on their coach. A few minutes after the players arrived, the Oklahoma coach was asked about his college nickname -- "Slick." When the reporter said the nickname, every player's mouth fell open. Each one of them turned with wide eyes to look at Kruger, who said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." He smiled. "I'd like to say it started because I was pretty smooth, you know. It was probably more about the haircut. I was one of six children, five boys. We didn't want to spend that money on a barber, so Dad bought himself a pair of

  • OU basketball: Should Villanova be nervous?

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

    Jordan Woodard might've been feeling a little saucy after answering a ton of questions lately, but during one of the player interview sessions before the OU faces Villanova on Saturday in the Final Four, he had a fun exchange when a reporter started a question by asking the Sooner guard to put himself in Villanova's shoes. Woodard: "I don’t wanna put myself in their shoes."  Reporter: "But they've got to guard Buddy, and then with the way you and Isaiah have been shooting, how do you defend all of that?" Woodard: "You can’t. I’d be nervous. (laughs) I’d be nervous if I was them. But they got great guard play, too. They definitely got great guard play.

  • Final Four: No messing with a good "Shining Moment"

    Jenni Carlson | Updated: Fri, Apr 1, 2016

    Fear not, "One Shining Moment" purists -- the Luther Vandross version is ready to roll. Turner Sports announced Friday that the celebrated version of college basketball's iconic anthem isn't going anywhere. TBS will use the Vandross version with its video montage after Monday's national championship game. Whew. With all of the Final Four games moving to cable this year, there was some thought that the Vandross version might go by the wayside. The song, after all, has been performed by several others, including Teddy Pendergrass and Jennifer Hudson.  And on TNT and truTV, where the "team stream" broadcasts will be available, viewers will see a new version of "One Shining Moment" performed by

  • Why fans love Sooners star Buddy Hield

    Why fans love Sooners star Buddy Hield

    By Jenni Carlson Columnist jcarlson@oklahoman.com | 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 NewsOK.com survey tilted heavily toward two characteristics.




Jenni Carlson Today at 8:28 AM Hey, @cityofokc, this has been untouched for 2 mo. No change since signs went up. Block W of Villa between NW 22/21. https://t.co/2b4qfyK4Xq
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:29 AM @DylanBuckingham Thanks, friend!
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:29 AM @jsndvs Thank YOU!
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:28 AM Is Erik givin' the skunk eye? Ha! ;) Thanks, Sherm, and thanks to everyone on our team! Lots of peeps make it go. https://t.co/YwMUxNSltn
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:10 AM RT @anthonyVslater: A couple Steve Kerr comments on the Thunder https://t.co/ll9vLQLthw
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:07 AM Lots of numbers to digest from Game 7. Here are the vitals: https://t.co/v1BwiYb7n8
Jenni Carlson Today at 12:00 AM If you're into this sort of thing, #Thunder fans -- team plane set to arrive in OKC at 2:55p Tuesday.
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 11:58:42 PM CST @ChrisCook2000 Um, not in my lifetime, I don't think.
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 10:31:48 PM CST RT @MikeSherman: One more time, #Whatstheheadline @TheOklahoman
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 10:06:57 PM CST @OtherCarrie I always TRY to tell people it's like magic ... :)
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 09:40:30 PM CST That. Was. Horrible. KD caught ballwatching. Bad, bad, bad.
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 09:21:15 PM CST Yep, OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer in the Rumble hat. Love it! https://t.co/vzDcjtfmjg
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 09:19:31 PM CST I thought Thunder needed to manage TOs, win rebounding and play great defense. 4 TOs to GS's 6, 29-24 on boards, GS 38%. Recipe is good.
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 09:10:48 PM CST RW shooting pull-up 3s makes me break out in hives. https://t.co/xlfQaSDeDZ
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 08:55:31 PM CST Looks like Green grabbed onto Adams' arm, then got King Kiwi landing on his head.
Jenni Carlson Mon, May. 30 2016 08:21:07 PM CST My 3yo just asked, "How many points do the Golden Bridges have?" Having just told her about the GSW logo, I'm suddenly a very proud mom!
Jenni Carlson Sun, May. 29 2016 03:37:34 PM CST For all you softball and WCWS fans in OKC. https://t.co/FvTJHVJXtc
Jenni Carlson Sun, May. 29 2016 08:36:14 AM CST RT @rob_backus81: Here's Sunday's @TheOklahoman sports cover off Thunder-Warriors Game 6: https://t.co/Pafdl72hix
Jenni Carlson Sat, May. 28 2016 08:07:56 AM CST @_KatieWillis Of course! Shoot me an email and we'll connect. :) jcarlson@oklahoman.com
Jenni Carlson Fri, May. 27 2016 07:13:55 PM CST @ChrisCook2000 5, I believe.

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