U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO and Bolles alumnus Travis T. Tygart ’89 gave Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA) members an inside look at his agency and its critical work at the JBA Member Luncheon held January 18 at the Marriott Jacksonville Downtown.
In his presentation, “Resuscitating the Rule of Law – Why it Still Matters,” Tygart emphasized that all athletes have a right to fair competition in a sport free of performance-enhancing drugs or unfair advantages. He explained how the rule of law applies to everyone, including athletes, and reiterated the importance of competing on a level playing field. Tygart also discussed the role of the USADA and delved into the doping case that ultimately exposed Lance Armstrong’s illegal activities.
Tygart also made a point to praise his family, including parents Tom Tygart ’58 and Judy Tygart, who sat at the front table during the luncheon alongside other key influences in his life: George Bateh ’66, John “Jack” R. Saalfield, and Tygart’s uncle, retired Circuit Judge Frederick B. Tygart. His sister, Circuit Judge Lindsay Tygart-Ahmed ’98, was also in attendance at the luncheon, where she blessed the meal and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Tygart has worked with the USADA since its inception in 2000 and became USADA’s CEO in September of 2007, having served as its director of legal affairs and general counsel prior to the position. As CEO, he works closely with the USADA Board of Directors to carry out the organization’s mission of preserving the integrity of competition, inspiring true sport and protecting the rights of clean athletes.
Under Tygart’s leadership, some of USADA’s most significant efforts to protect clean athletes have come in the form of major investigations. Working alongside federal authorities, USADA investigated the international steroid bust, Operation Raw Deal, and the international doping conspiracy involving the BALCO laboratory in San Francisco. He also led the investigation into the U.S. Postal Service pro-cycling team doping conspiracy and the Lance Armstrong case.
Tygart is a 1993 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. After teaching and coaching high school for a few years, he earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University (SMU), graduating Order of the Coif. He received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2010 from UNC-CH and the Alumni Award from SMU in 2014. He was also named as one of TIME magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of 2013 and recognized by Sports Illustrated as one of the 50 Most Powerful People in Sports. Tygart and his wife, Nichole, have three children: Mackie Tate (19), JT (17) and Tommy (14).