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Irreconcilable Differences or Vibrant Habitat? An Examination of Sport Management’s Perceived Invasion of Recreation’s Nest

Michael B. Edwards and Jon Welty Peachey

Throughout sport management’s history, scholars have wrestled with the discipline’s appropriate home within the academy. Sport management programs are often placed within other departments or schools, with one potential home being established parks and recreation management departments. However, one of the most prevalent issues within the parks and recreation academic field is the perceived invasion of sport management into its “nest.” In a recent article in the field’s leading education journal, a prominent scholar suggests that parks and recreation programs housing sport management run the risk of undermining their mission and may ultimately face extinction. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to offer a response to this article, and examine the position of sport management within traditional parks and recreation departments. We argue that because of the interrelatedness of the disciplines and shared ontological and epistemological roots, fostering collaboration rather than divisiveness would enhance the scholarship, academic integrity and student learning outcomes of both fields.