Edited Press Release
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority's board of directors recently held its inaugural meeting and elected Charles Scheeler as chairperson of the board. This meeting marks a major step in the operational and organizational transition of the Authority from the nomination and selection process to the critical work of developing uniform safety and integrity rules for the horse racing industry.
“I'm honored to be selected by my fellow board members as the first chairperson of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. We have a monumental task ahead of us, and I want to thank the nominating committee for bringing together this outstanding group of individuals whose inherent integrity and combined expertise give me confidence in our ability to meet the challenge,” said Scheeler. “All eyes are on the Thoroughbred industry as we move into the third leg of the Triple Crown, and on behalf of the board and its standing committees, I'd like to express our unwavering commitment to our mission to protect the wellbeing of human and equine athletes and the integrity of the sport.”
Scheeler is a retired partner at DLA Piper. His extensive background includes serving as lead counsel to former Senator George Mitchell in connection with his independent investigation of performance-enhancing substance use in Major League Baseball (the Mitchell Report). He also served as the monitor of the Pennsylvania State University investigation relating to compliance with its obligations under the Athletics Integrity Agreement with the National Collegiate Athletics Association and Big Ten Conference. Additionally, Scheeler led an investigation by an independent commission examining health and safety practices within the University of Maryland football program. The resulting report recommended an array of best practices designed to place the university at the forefront of student-athlete health and safety.
“Charles Scheeler is the right choice as the Authority's first board chair and brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the role,” said Authority board member Leonard Coleman. “His deep background and exceedingly positive reputation on issues of critical importance in sports speak for themselves, making him a strong nominee for the board. I'm very pleased to see him take on this expanded role.” Coleman was also co-chair of the Authority's blue-ribbon nominating committee that identified the initial board of directors and standing committee members.
Prior to joining DLA Piper, Scheeler was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland from 1984 to 1989. During his time in public service, he successfully prosecuted racketeering, narcotics, money laundering and fraud cases.
In addition to practicing law, Scheeler is an engaged member of the community. He serves as chair of the board of Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association. He also serves as chair of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and is a member of the boards of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the CollegeBound Foundation. Scheeler graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.
“With the election of Charles Scheeler as the Authority's chair, the board of directors is moving ahead with the development of uniform safety and integrity rules and regulations for the industry,” said Nancy Cox, who will continue to serve as chair of the Authority's nominating committee. “Under his leadership, the Authority is well positioned to recommend and implement a new and effective regulatory framework to safeguard the future of horse racing.”
Under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission, Authority board and standing committee members are responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing a series of uniform anti-doping, medication control, racetrack safety and operational rules to enhance equine safety and protect the integrity of the sport for participants, fans and bettors.
As part of the national governing framework that will be established for the sport, the 2020 Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) created a set of baseline standards and reforms from which the Authority will begin its work. The anti-doping and medication control standing committee, in partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will advise the Authority on permitted and prohibited substances, laboratory testing standards, in- and out-of-competition testing and programs related to research and education. The racetrack safety standing committee will advise the Authority on training and safety standards, veterinary exam protocols, racing surface quality and maintenance, centralized databases for injury and fatality tracking and analysis, uniform track safety standards, and research and education related to every facet of racetrack safety.
“The Authority is working with the Federal Trade Commission to implement a series of uniform safety standards to reform and govern one of our nation's most treasured pastimes by the July 2022 program effective date,” said Scheeler. “Our work to protect the integrity and safety of the sport for our equine and human athletes, participants and fans is the top priority for everyone involved with the Authority. We will deliver on our goals and fill the long-standing need for national oversight of this storied sport to ensure it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Additional information on HISA and the Authority can be found at hisaus.org.