After the widespread disappointment at the announcement that Amanda Longacre is just over two months too old to qualify for the crown, there may be some balm in the latest information from the Miss America organization: Longacre will, in fact, be allowed to keep her scholarship.
It’s not really clear who is truly at fault for Amanda Longacre being allowed to enter when too old by a few months. In a video interview from Delaware Online, Amanda says that she asked about the age requirement, and was assured by the contest’s executive board that she would be allowed to enter as long as she was only 24 at the time of the contest in September.
Still, others point out that every contestant is made aware of the rules, which say a contestant cannot turn 25 before the end of the year, and Amanda Longacre will have her 25th birthday at the end of October.
Some argue, such as in this op-ed from The Daily Beast, that the rule itself — or rather, the obsession with youth that may be part of the inspiration for the age limit — is actually at fault for Longacre’s difficulties. Perhaps beauty is a poor standard for whether a person deserves accolades, titles, and monetary awards, but it’s only fair to recognize that age limits are often a part of scholarship contests, since the aim is often to help young adults who are starting out in life to receive an education they can’t afford on their own.
In this, however, Amanda Longacre particularly felt cheated: in the Delaware Online video, Longacre sobbed about the loss of money for school.
Surely Ms. Longacre must be heartened today, then, by the news that she will indeed be able to keep the scholarship award of $9,000. ABC News reported this afternoon that the Miss America Organization will still give Amanda the award money, with Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell saying,
Because we are a scholarship organization we’re going to make sure Amanda gets that scholarship and the new Miss Delaware gets the same scholarship.
There’s no indication that Longacre’s comment about seeking legal advice had any bearing on this decision, and it would be nice to think that the same organization that says twenty-five is too old for the crown is merely doing the right thing, at least in part.
Awarding Amanda Longacre the scholarship money may make it possible for her to pay for school, but it won’t undo the embarrassment and disappointment that come with being stripped of her title and told that she’s too old to wear the crown.