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Finding a Healthy Balance: Managerial Considerations Regarding the Work–Life Interface of Interns and Graduate Assistants Working in Collegiate Sport

Jeffrey Graham, Allison Smith, and Sylvia Trendafilova

Craig Johnson is an associate athletic director for marketing and promotions in an athletic department at the collegiate level. Through conversation, he has recently realized that the graduate students working in his department as interns and graduate assistants feel that balancing work, school, and a personal life is impossible. As a mentor for working in sport, as well as their direct manager, he feels something must be done to assist these graduate students in managing the work–life interface, but is unsure where to start. Drawing from research in sport management and from the general management literature, the case gives insight into the issues, outcomes, and theories that inform the work–life interface. Undergraduate and graduate students in human resource management or organizational behavior courses who work through this case will have an opportunity to contemplate, discuss, and develop strategies for managing the issues surrounding balancing work and a personal life.

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Breaching a Contract Versus Searching for a Job While Employed: Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Coaches and Administrators When Deciding About a Mid-Season Change in Leadership

Allison Smith, Yan Gioseffi, and Jeffrey Graham

The Pointers are a soccer team that play in Division A of the Demolition League. The president of the Pointers is Fernando Garcia, and the head coach is Guille Muller. The league has a poor culture of firing coaches throughout the season. With only a couple of games left in the season, the Pointers are going through a losing streak, and there are rumors Muller may be fired if the team does not win their next game. Simultaneously, Muller is receiving coaching offers from other teams within the league. The ethical dilemma surrounding this case refers to two scenarios (a) whether it is ethical for the president to negotiate with another coach while there is still one employed and (b) whether it is ethical for a coach to negotiate with another club while employed. Drawing from research in sport management, this case focuses on three ethical theories to create discussion surrounding the scenario: Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics. Undergraduate and graduate students in sport management, human resources, and those who seek to be in a leadership position will have the opportunity to understand, analyze, and discuss these three theories and apply them to real-life scenarios, such as hiring and firing employees.

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“What it Means to be a ‘Lady’”: Defending the “Lady Vols” Nickname and Logo

Lars Dzikus, Allison B. Smith, and Jonathan Evans

Scholars have contested the use of Lady in team nicknames since the 1980s, as the practice might suggest otherness and inferiority (Eitzen & Zinn, 1989). This study is set in the context of the 2012 merger of the women’s athletic departments at the University of Tennessee and the 2014 announcement that the university would eliminate the Lady Vols brand for all sports but women’s basketball. The latter decision has been met with resistance and applause from various parties. Using textual analysis of voices of athletes and comparing and contrasting them with perspectives of scholars, this study suggests a reading of Lady and Lady Vols as polysemic text with coexisting and competing cultural interpretations.

Les universitaires ont contesté l’utilisation du terme Lady dans les surnoms des équipes dès les années 80, étant donné que cette pratique pouvait suggérer l’altérité et l’infériorité (Eitzen & Zinn, 1989). Cette étude s’inscrit dans le contexte de la fusion des départements sportifs de l’Université du Tennessee en 2012 et de l’annonce faite en 2014 que l’université supprimerait la marque Lady Vols, hormis pour le basket féminin. Cette décision a rencontré des résistances et des applaudissements de la part de différentes parties. En se basant sur une analyse textuelle des positions prises par des athlètes et en les comparant et les contrastant avec les perspectives d’universitaires, cette étude suggère une lecture des termes Lady et Lady Vols comme un texte polysémique avec la coexistence d’interprétations culturelles concurrentes.

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Mothers as Others in Collegiate Athletic Departments: The Impact of a Gendered Organization on Women Coaches

Jessica Siegele, Elizabeth Taylor, Kelsie Saxe, and Allison Smith

Work–life conflict and the underrepresentation of women in college coaching have been widely examined topics in sport research. However, more limited attention has been devoted to exploring the influence of parental status on the careers of coaches. The purpose of the study was to understand the experiences of women who voluntarily left the coaching profession because of its perceived incompatibility with motherhood. Utilizing Acker’s Theory of Gendered Organizations framework, the current study interviewed six former National Collegiate Athletic Association women coaches whose collegiate coaching careers ended prematurely due to the difficulty in balancing parental and professional responsibilities. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, three high-order themes were constructed: (a) no space for women; (b) getting out, wanting to be in; and (c) impact of gendered society. Findings indicate that women coaches with children experience unique barriers and challenges, which can ultimately lead to women exiting the college coaching profession. Findings dispel the myth that women “don’t want to coach” and implicate the compounding stress of gender roles in the family and broader society.

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A Kinematic Comparison of Single, Double, and Triple Axels

Deborah L. King, Allison S. Arnold, and Sarah L. Smith

To be competitive internationally, figure skaters today must perform complex athletic skills such as triple axels. However, few skaters are executing such jumps consistently. In this study, a 3D kinematic analysis of five elite male skaters was undertaken to compare characteristics of single, double, and triple axels and to determine which parameters are most critical to completion of the triple axel. Results indicate that skaters increase their number of revolutions by increasing their rotational velocity, not by increasing their time in the air. The study also shows that skaters' triple axels travel horizontally only 70% as far as their single axels, an observation attributable to skaters' greater skid distances, greater takeoff angles, and consequently lower horizontal velocities in their triple axels. It appears that achieving a high rotational velocity by generating angular momentum at takeoff and by minimizing moment of inertia about the spin axis is a key to completing the triple axel.

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Sport-Specific Free Play Youth Football/Soccer Program Recommendations Around the World

Marty K. Baker, Jeffrey A. Graham, Allison Smith, and Zachary T. Smith

The purpose of this Coaching In paper is to share an overview of how sport-specific free play is incorporated into training and development recommendations for youth football (soccer) in various countries around the world. A review of 11 countries’ training programs was conducted, in which specific instances of training recommendations were examined to identify similarities and differences among nations. Results of our review suggest that not all of the programs emphasized children having fun, enjoying the game of football, or engaging in free play. For example, the program from England strongly emphasized outcome related abilities more than enjoyment or play related features of training. In contrast, the Italian, Canadian, and Australian documents discussed that allowing youth to play freely engaged children, ensured they were having fun, and encouraged a fascination with football. Programs recommending developmental games or free play often suggested the use of purposeful gameplay that resembled traditional competition or match-specific situations. Examining development recommendations across nations provides important insight into how youth sport development efforts are shaped around the world, especially as youth sport coaches seek to enhance youth engagement, while simultaneously helping youth improve their skills.

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Women Don’t Know Anything About Sports: Contrapower Harassment in the Sport Management Classroom

Elizabeth A. Taylor, Allison B. Smith, Cheryl R. Rode, and Robin Hardin

Contrapower harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority (e.g., faculty member) experiences incivility or sexual harassment from a subordinate (e.g., student). Sport has long been considered a male domain, and this is true in the sport management academic setting as well. This creates an environment where contrapower harassment can occur. This research examined the prevalence of contrapower harassment in the sport management classroom as well as strategies to negotiate it if it occurs. A questionnaire was completed by 179 female faculty members teaching in the sport management field. More than half of the respondents indicated they were treated differently because of their gender, and more than 80% indicated they had faced incidents of incivility in the classroom. Respondents indicated they negotiated the instances by attempting to make the incident a teaching tool and by immediately addressing the instance. Contrapower harassment is prevalent in the sport management classroom, and faculty need to address the issue so the behaviors will not carry over into the professional work environment.

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“The Most Important Shot You Will Ever Take”: The Burgeoning Role of Social Media Activism in Challenging Embedded NCAA Patriarchy

Sarah Stokowski, Allison B. Smith, Alison Fridley, Chris Corr, and Amanda L. Paule-Koba

While the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) purpose is to protect college athletes within a hypercommercialized institutional setting, the protections prevent college athletes from accessing the lucrative marketplace. Extant literature has conceptualized the operating functions of the NCAA within the context of a patriarchal framework in which college athletes are infantilized, and authoritative institutional control is thereby justified. However, social media has provided a platform to engage in counter-storytelling and activism. As such, this study examined engagement with college-athlete-led social media activism. Utilizing a content-analysis methodological approach, social media engagement with the Twitter hashtag #NotNCAAProperty was examined over the course of the 2021 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. Findings revealed that most interactions were supportive of college athletes and suggest that social media may be a strategic mechanism for college athletes to engage in advocacy initiatives.

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Applying Career Construction Theory to Female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Conference Commissioners

Elizabeth A. Taylor, Jessica L. Siegele, Allison B. Smith, and Robin Hardin

Women’s participation in collegiate sport has increased dramatically since the passage of Title IX, but there has not been a corresponding increase in the percentage of women in administrative positions. Women have, however, been successful obtaining leadership positions in conference offices, as more than 30% of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I conference commissioners were women in 2016. This research used career construction theory as a framework to explore the experiences of these women. Findings revealed that participants constantly negotiate time spent on personal and professional obligations, and relationships created in the workplace turned into organic mentorship relationships. Participants felt that there were limited amounts of sexism in the workplace, but all discussed experiencing instances of sexism, indicating a culture of gender normalcy. Women may experience increased success in leadership positions at conference offices, compared with on-campus athletic departments, due to limited direct interaction with football and donors.

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“You Should be Flattered!”: Female Sport Management Faculty Experiences of Sexual Harassment and Sexism

Elizabeth A. Taylor, Allison B. Smith, Natalie M. Welch, and Robin Hardin

Sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace is the unwanted sexual attention and discrimination based on sex or gender of employees by their colleagues or superiors. Male-dominated organizations and professions have been found to possess cultures susceptible to high rates of sexual harassment and sexism. In addition, these organizations and professions become more accepting of this type of behavior the longer the culture permits it. In male-dominated industries such as sport, female employees may even come to expect and accept this type of behavior as “part of the job.” Utilizing Institutional Theory, this study explored the experiences of sexual harassment and sexism from colleagues and superiors in a group of 14 female sport management faculty members within the United States. All participants reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or sexism during their time as a graduate student or faculty member. Surprisingly, this harassment and sexism came from both men and women. The most common form of harassment or sexism was subtle sexism; however, several participants indicated aggressive harassment or sexism that resulted in needing medication, hospitalization, or therapy.