Lincoln Riley’s move from Oklahoma to USC has led to a lot of reactions, and now we’ve reached the always-fun category of “reactions to sports events from state politicians.” The latest news there is the discussion of a bill request to rename the last three inches of a highway exiting Oklahoma in honor (?) of Riley, from Senator Bill Coleman (R-10th district):
“LINCOLN RILEY HIGHWAY”???
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants last 3 inches of desolate highway to be renamed Lincoln Riley Highway.
“This is only fitting as this is the last three inches one sees before leaving our great state heading west.”
-Sen. Coleman pic.twitter.com/0cJxJ1dOHh
— Abigail Ogle (@KOCOAbigail) December 7, 2021
This is far from the first move in a state senate to criticize a particular sports event, and there’s as yet no indication of how likely it is that this will actually become a thing. And there’s definitely an advantage for state senators to make these kinds of moves even if they don’t wind up becoming law, as the initial rounds of publicity are often valuable in at least getting that person’s name out there.
It is interesting that Coleman already has sports connections. His OKSenate.gov page lists his profession as “Owner & Operator, Team Radio Marketing Group,” with that group consisting of “five radio stations in Ponca City and Stillwater.” (It looks like that’s actually seven stations now, as per their page.) On the sports front, that company owns the Triple Play Sports Network, which operates on two frequencies in Stillwater (home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys) and three frequencies in other cities, and which describes itself as . And it’s somewhat unusual that it’s a senator so connected to Oklahoma State sports who’s the one making the bill request to criticize Lincoln Riley for leaving the University of Oklahoma.
At any rate, this is certainly a funny development. Will it actually become a law, and require actual state funds to be spent on “Lincoln Riley Highway” signs? That’s hard to say at this point. But this is a notable press release, and it does help illustrate that there’s at least one Oklahoma state politician not pleased with Riley’s job change.
[Abigail Ogle on Twitter; Lincoln Riley USC billboard photo from Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports]