In case you missed it, the big news to come out of Oklahoma this past weekend was the Sooner Schooner tumbling over during Saturday’s snoozefest against West Virginia. The clip has been viewed millions of times on social media:
"Overall, they're going to be okay."
Thankfully everyone walked away after the Sooner Schooner tipped over. pic.twitter.com/J1dwTP9xS8
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 19, 2019
Here’s a more modern, photobomb view:
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 20, 2019
The fact that the Schooner tipped over isn’t that big of a surprise.
If Cee Dee Lamb can’t keep his footing on Owen Field on a slippery Saturday morning, how can we expect a couple of ponies pulling a covered wagon to make a tight turn while being chased and tormented by young buckaroos swinging paddles?
Plus, this isn’t the first time the Schooner wiped out on national television. In the mid-1990s, when OU football was a downtrodden program hovering around Oklahoma State levels, the Schooner turned over and ripped OU’s astroturf. Remember that?
I remember watching that live on the TV in my parents’ living room. Gary Gibbs was OU’s coach, and he was once again losing a game to Colorado. At the time, everyone from Effie to OU Geno to James the Marvel made the observation that the crash, and OU then patching the astro turf with duct tape, symbolized how far OU had fallen as a football program. Little did we know that Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake would soon arrive on campus, and that the worst was yet to come.
Now that OU’s had two Schooner crashes in 26 years, you have to wonder it’s time to re-think the Sooner Schooner.
You have to admit that in today’s hyper-cautious safety state – a time and place where nervous fear, and the risk of higher insurance premiums, rule the day and ruin the fun – it’s kind of bizarre that OU lets students zip around the football field in a covered wagon after scoring a touchdown. It’s always felt like an accident waiting to happen. Thank God some guy wasn’t hanging upside down out of the back waving a flag, otherwise we may have witnessed a decapitation on Saturday.
HOLD ON! HOLD ON! 🤕 pic.twitter.com/MYN1QYmyUr
— ESPN (@espn) November 10, 2018
In addition to the safety concerns, there are other reasons to re-think the Sooner Schooner. For example, there’s the whole ethical treatment of animals thing. Let’s be honest – the ponies don’t seem to be having a very good time. PETA made sure to hop on that:
BREAKING: Oklahoma's horse-drawn #SoonerSchooner wagon tipped over, launching spirit squad members onto the field.
— PETA (@peta) October 19, 2019
You also have the contingent of offended woke students on the OU campus who want remove any and all associations the University has with the actual Land Run. They’d love nothing more than to see the Sooner Schooner replaced by… uh… Tap Daug? I guess that would work for me.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying the school needs to euthanize the Sooner Schooner. That would be an overreaction, but at the very least, it may be time to reconsider trotting it out after OU scores points. I know it’s tradition and everything, but A) it’s obviously dangerous, b) it’s offensive to certain groups and C) it can cost OU a national title:
Seriously, I’m okay with seeing a college kid or two getting hurt either physically or emotionally – this is college football after all – but an unnecessary penalty that ruins a team’s momentum and potentially costs OU a national championship banner??? That goes too far.