|| Oldest Artifact
The OU Athletics Department installed the oldest artifacts yet from Sooner football history on Thursday morning at the Switzer Center in Norman.
This jersey and set of shoulder pads were worn by Joe Merkle, who played for the Sooners from 1896-99. Previously, the oldest article in the Switzer Center exhibit was an OU letter sweater from 1904:
The artifacts were donated to the OU Athletics Department by the Merkle family. One of the most striking observations on the jersey is how small it is. It wouldn't fit most high school players today, much less those at the collegiate level.
In this photo of the 1897 Oklahoma team, Joe Merkle is in the front row, second from the left. The 1897 team was the third at OU. Note the two fellows in the middle row, on the right, sporting jerseys similar to the example now on display in the Switzer Center:
The people and events that shaped the OU football program are remembered in the three-story Switzer Center, along with the stories of some of the greatest teams ever to play the game and the seemingly endless list of coaches and players who brought glory to the university and the state.
On home football weekends, the Switzer Center
is open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center is closed on Saturdays (for football recruiting) but is open again on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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