NCAA and Instagram

Well, this is interesting. After listing Instagram as one of the apps that coaches can’t use to process images sent to recruits earlier in the week, the NCAA is now backtracking on this and saying the app, and others like it, are okay to use.

To quote them:

An NCAA educational column posted online that discussed the alteration of photos used for recruiting purposes has generated much discussion because of its inclusion of Instagram as an example. The educational column is being updated. The NCAA has issued the following statement:

“Schools can and do use Instagram in all sorts of ways: to promote events, post game highlights and give a sense of what it’s like to be on campus We at the NCAA regularly use Instagram for similar purposes.

“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.”

I think there’s some very fine hair-splitting going on here. Sure, most of the Instagram filters aren’t changing what’s there, but photographs are not just about what’s there – they are about creating emotional connections. And most of these filtering programs are altering the relationships between reality and our emotional connection to reality.

Want a quick verbal version of this?

Think about toast with butter on it and strawberry jam next to it.

Now, think about warm, golden toast with butter pooled in the nooks and crannies of your grandmother’s homemade bread with canned strawberry preserves from your aunt’s garden being spread across it.*

See? I just Instagrammed toast – in words – and now you are craving it, aren’t you?

Instagram, and many of these other image editing apps, may not alter the content of an image, but they sure as heck alter the emotional connection to them.

* My apologies to any gluten-intolerant readers, toast was just the first thing that came to mind.

Mark E. Johnson

2 Responses

  1. There must be a really tiny, really sharp razor the NCAA keeps hidden in Indianapolis, brought out for rules interpretations. For years, the association has fought a quixotic battle designed to preserve the fiction of a level playing field when it comes to amenities provided to recruits. So the text of the rule has to do with altering images to create content specifically for recruits.

    I love the folks who do legislative interpretations for the NCAA, but this is a classic example of the futility of “level playing field” rules. Does anyone think that a kid is going to choose Alabama over Troy State because Alabama has a guy who knows how to use Instagram? The kid is going to choose Alabama for a whole lot of reasons that have nothing to do with software and social media and instead have a lot of zeroes and commas.

  2. Also, the commas and zeroes imply that Alabama has a large football budget, not that the Tide is doing anything nefarious.

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