Carolyn Nelson, media relations coordinator for the Miss Delaware organization, confirms that that Longacre did nothing wrong and had accurately reported her birth date on applications.
Still, on Tuesday, she was notified by pageant officials that her age was an issue. She was told she will not able to compete in the Miss America Pageant next September and that she was being stripped of her title, all prizes associated with that title, as well as $11,000 in scholarship money. Scholarship money that was going to help her pursue her master's degree in Social Work.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
“They deleted me off of everything, they’re ignoring me,” Longacre said. “They deleted me off the [Facebook] group and put up a press release announcing a new Miss Delaware.”
Longacre competed twice without any issues regarding age or eligibility -- once was on the local level and again on the state level. Her birth certificate, license and social security card were provided and verified by the organization.
Longacre says she was told from the beginning that her age was not an issue, that as long as she was 24 while on the Miss America stage, she was good to go.
Pageant officials, however, say she has exceeded the age requirement in order to be eligible to compete in Miss America, even though she won't turn 25 until after the pageant on October 22.
“I was told I could compete by people who have been doing this for 30 years,” Longacre said. “I did everything right and it was all in front of them.”
Longacre was in a program for her master's at the University of Pennsylvania and had an internship at the Department of Justice. When she signed her Miss Delaware contract, she notified both groups that she wouldn’t be able to participate for a year while she fulfilled her duties as pageant winner. Now that she has been stripped of her title, she is unsure if they will take her back.
“I can fulfill this job,” she said. “I did nothing morally or ethically wrong. Now I am getting all the repercussions.”
Longacre has yet to receive any information from Miss America and there is no announcement on the Miss America Organization Facebook page.
First runner-up Brittany Lewis of Wilmington will be awarded the crown at a news conference at Dover Downs 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.