Miss America raises maximum age of competitors to 25

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Miss America organization is raising the maximum age of contestants from 24 to 25.

A spokeswoman told The Press of Atlantic City that the change takes effect with this year's contests. It's the first change to pageant rules since former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson became chairwoman of the organization's board of directors.

Spokeswoman Chelsea Mineur said Miss America officials drafted the new rule. It's meant to allow more young women pursuing advanced degrees to benefit from the program.

Carlson was named chairwoman on New Year's Day. That came less than two weeks after leaked emails surfaced showing CEO Sam Haskell and others disparaging the appearance and intellect of former Miss Americas.

Haskell resigned Dec. 23. Most of the previous board members also have resigned.

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