Adaptive Lifestyles in Intercollegiate Athletics

Elizabeth A. Taylor – Temple University
Allison B. Smith – University of Massachusetts – Boston
Jeffery A. Graham – University of Tennessee
Robin Hardin – University of Tennessee

Scholars have suggested balance is achievable in the work-life interface, especially when utilizing current guiding theories in the field, such as role, scarcity, border, and boundary theory. However, within intercollegiate sport, research on the work-life interface suggests a culture characterized by imbalance due to long, nontraditional hours, frequent travel, and the stress of high-performance expectations. Thus, current theories often utilized to examine the work-life interface within sport may not adequately explain the dynamics of the profession. This manuscript proposes an updated framework more fitting to working in intercollegiate athletics and introduces the concept of an adaptive lifestyle. The adaptive lifestyle model suggests an athletic department employees’ personal life domain adjusts to allow for the completion of work duties, even if this means making sacrifices within the personal life domain. This model has important theoretical and practical implications for future research focused on the work-life interface literature of sport management as well as other professions, especially those with high workplace demands.