NCAA Legislating Instagram Is Just Another Out-of-Touch Decision

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterOctober 11, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: NCAA president Mark Emmert (R) speaks as Ed Ray, chairman of the NCAA's executive committee and Oregon State president looks on, during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NCAA has done it again, folks. While people turned to the NCAA to "handle" the Penn State situation based on the organization's moral authority, many of us were looking at the Keystone Cops in Indy and not expecting much. 

It delivered in spades, as the NCAA got back to what it does best: prove just how disconnected and out of touch it is in general.


Yes, the social media picture-sharing application is the latest to get the big ax from the gang in Indianapolis. From John Infante, proprietor of the Bylaw Blog:

The NCAA has banned the use of @instagram filters in recruiting:…

— John Infante (@John_Infante) October 10, 2012


The ban was revealed though an educational column over at

Question: May a coach take a photo and use software (e.g., Instagram, Photoshop, Camera Awesome, Camera+,) to enhance the content of the photo (e.g., changed color of photo to sepia tones or add content to the photograph), and send it to a prospective student-athlete as an attachment it to an email or direct social media message?

Answer: No, a photograph that has been altered or staged for a recruiting purpose cannot be sent to a prospective student-athlete.

This is the NCAA, folks. Making sure that recruits aren't getting super hip pics set in sepia tones to look really chill, bro. It's out to stop that assistant coach from sending that kitschy pic of his office, tweaked as only Instagram can do.

The heart of the legislation makes sense. It's trying to protect against "staged" recruiting materials, where prospective student-athletes are inserted into pictures as a way of enticing them, simulating their presence in a game experience.

Unfortunately, much like its famed cream cheese legislation, the NCAA is missing the mark here.

And when it misses the mark, it proves itself to be out of touch. However, let's not pretend that we're surprised; this is what the NCAA is.

This is the same group that people flocked to when child abuse was exposed at Penn State. This is the group you think should lead the charge for a college football playoff. This is your NCAA, people. What should we expect next?

Holly Anderson at Sports Illustrated has an idea:


YOU'RE NEXT PINTEREST “@john_infante: The NCAA has banned the use of @instagram filters in recruiting:…

— Holly Anderson (@SIHolly) October 11, 2012

Update: The NCAA has moved to "clarify" their stance on Instagram, per the NCAA's Bob Williams:


Instagram is not banned. Improper recruiting is. Sorry for the confusion. Clarification:

— BOB WILLIAMS (@NCAABob) October 11, 2012

In other words, this time from the NCAA release:

“There is no NCAA ban of Instagram. Schools just can't alter the content of photos – and to be clear, we do not consider Instagram’s filters as content alteration – and then email them directly to recruits.”

Which speaks precisely to the point made above; the NCAA missed their mark. They included Instagram, an app that let's you tweak photos to add "cool" effects, with heavy hitters like Photoshop. Out of touch, much? At least they went back and fixed that the next day, the cream cheese rule took them awhile.


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