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Intercollegiate athletics are a popular and competitive field, with employees drawn to a dynamic, yet untraditional work environment with varying work hours. The struggle of achieving work-life balance has received considerable study in sport, as employees often find a conflict in balancing their job and other life responsibilities, such as family (work-family conflict). This chapter introduces a new area of potential employee internal conflict, work-extracurricular conflict, which encompasses everything outside of work and family, such spiritual, hobbies, exercise/health, school, and social activities. This conflict may be especially relevant to a segment of the industry which is rarely studied, intercollegiate athletic department graduate assistants (GAs). GAs may have more conflict with making time for schoolwork, friends, and hobbies rather than family. This exploratory chapter intends to: (1) introduce the concept of work-extracurricular conflict, and (2) preliminarily assess work-life balance in non-coaching GAs (e.g., marketing, sports information, ticketing) and their supervisors by comparing their levels of conflict (work-family, work-extracurricular) and satisfaction (life and job). Data were collected from GAs and their supervisors (N = 47) working in five athletic departments via a 27-item online survey. Descriptive statistics and t-tests revealed significant differences between GAs and supervisors in job satisfaction, while determining no significant differences in work-family conflict, work-extracurricular conflict, or life satisfaction levels. Both GAs and supervisors experienced conflict on both the family and extracurricular levels, suggesting managers should focus on improving these areas of conflict. Sport managers can utilize this information to better understand the work-life balance of GAs and establish dialogue on ways to improve GAs‘ experiences in hopes of retaining these professionals in the future. Finally, researchers should investigate the new construct of work-extracurricular conflict, validate the scale, and consider policies for staff to alleviate conflict.


First published in Journal of Contemporary Athletics:

Ervin, S.*, & Cianfrone, B. A. (2014). Exploring the work–life balance of intercollegiate athletic graduate assistants: A preliminary study of work–extracurricular conflict. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 8(4), 197–215.

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