Sunday, August 26, 2007

Questions of Teen Eligibility

*This entry has been modified/corrected. -8/27 12:35 a.m.

Recently teen eligibility in Miss America pageants has been questioned. Here are the facts, as explained to me by a local committee member, who I thank very much!

First, the rules for Miss pageants were changed to stipulate that a woman still in high school must graduate high school within six months of receiving her crown. Therefore, some women who competed in early closed locals were actually ineligible and upcoming pageants, like Miss Northwestern Ohio, who usually recruit several local high schoolers could no longer do so. I couldn’t find the logic behind this rule; it literally blocked out an entire group of women, since seniors in high school are not eligible for the teen pageant either!

Luckily, the wording in the contract null and voids this stupid rule. I’m told just a few lines later it contradicts itself, thus all high school seniors can compete in all local Miss preliminaries, not just those six months within their graduation. Miss Ohio Board President Steven Oliveri stated, “Miss America has acknowledged their mistake with the complete wording of the rule and has indicated to us that we are to accept contestants that challenge this rule. They will make the necessary corrections for next year’s contestant contract.”

Second, an anonymous commenter asked me how 12 year olds were able to compete in Outstanding Teen pageants; they thought the age requirement was 13 to 17. The teen rules state, "Participants must be 13 on or before the date of the pageant. You may be 17 and a Junior on the date of the National Pageant. However...You may NOT be 17 and a SENIOR on the date of the National Pageant."

This is confusing and begs the question, does "the pageant" mean the local pageant, state pageant or national pageant? Since teens can enter directly into the state pageant as at-large contestants here in Ohio, I suppose a local contestant could be 12 IF she will turn 13 by the state pageant in the summer. It's likely up to the discretion of the local director. (At-large entry to Ohio's Outstanding Teen cost $435 to $510; I don't know what local teen pageants charge.)

I don’t know the ages of the contestants at Miss Lake Erie’s Outstanding Teen, but there was a 12 year old who placed at the West Central Teen pageant. As it turns out though, the West Central program does not have an Outstanding Teen franchise this year, so they could operate their teen pageant however they wanted. When I shared the results of that pagenat here I did think it was an official Outstanding Teen local; I will correct that entry. Their winner is 15 and I would not be a bit surprised if she competes for Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen as an at-large contestants.

Someone please post a comment correcting me if any of this is wrong.

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