Oral Roberts University has fairly well destroyed everyone’s NCAA Tournament Bracket. First, by knocking off #2 Seed Ohio State and THEN beating Florida to punch their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen. It’s ironic, in a way. ORU doesn’t allow dancing on their campus but they now find themselves in “The Big Dance”. Awkward.

So, probably lots of people, upon having their bracket ruined, had to go look up where Oral Roberts University even is. I know a lot about ORU because I grew up about 20 miles from the campus (Tulsa, by the way). I had friends who went there AND when I was in college we had a couple of athletic transfers from there who were FULL of stories.

Here are the fast and dirty facts about Oral Roberts University.

1.) Oral Roberts

So, Oral Roberts himself was known as the “crazy TV preacher” when I was growing up. The Eighties were the heyday of crazy TV preachers but Oral stood out even among a group that included Jim Bakker, Benny Hinn and Robert Tilton. These were all con artists who took millions in donations and wore Rolexes and had private jets. But only Oral (and Jerry Falwell) had his own university as part of their grift.

From claiming to raise the dead to threatening that “God will kill me” if I don’t raise $8 million for a hospital…Oral Roberts was always up to some kind of shenanigans.

2.) Campus Life in the Present Time

I went to a conservative religious school (Oklahoma Baptist). We had to go to Chapel services three times a week but even WE made fun of ORU for being backward and regressive. Here are a few of the things that can still get you kicked out of ORU in the year 2021. That’s right! All of these are still part of the ORU Student Handbook.
---Possession of Alcohol

  • ---Protesting
  • ---Holding or participating in a raffle
  • ---Skateboarding, roller blading or roller skating
  • ---Jogging at night (seriously)
  • ---Homosexuality. Although, premarital sex of ANY kind is also strictly forbidden. I’m actually
  • Interested to find out what would happen if a gay married couple lived on campus. It’s not
  • premarital sex but I’m almost certain it wouldn’t meet Oral’s strict morality test.
  • --- Dancing. Yep, ORU still goes by the “Town-from-Footloose” rules.

3.) Things that May have Changed

So, I mentioned we had a couple of athletic transfers from ORU. These were both basketball players, both African-American men. I couldn’t confirm these in the current ORU student handbook but these guys swore it was true way back when. Here’s what they said going to ORU was like circa 1988:

Men must wear long pants (not jeans) and a tie whenever out of the dorms

Women could NOT wear pants. Only dresses and skirts.

ALL students were required to carry a King James Bible with them at all times. Being Bible-less was grounds for discipline.

No Interracial Dating. For obvious reasons, this one seems especially backward and wrong-headed. But my teammates SWORE it was true. Who am I not to believe them? I mean, you couldn’t even roller-blade at ORU during the 80s so…it doesn’t sound out of the question.

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