Deputy Director of Athletics (Administration and Policy)/SWA Janna Blais began her Northwestern career on February 15, 2010. As Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator at Northwestern, Blais leads and manages five departments for the Wildcats: compliance, academic services and student development, sports medicine, sports performance, and the David G. Kabiller NU for Life Program. She serves as the department’s liaison at Big Ten and NCAA meetings, and internally, is the liaison to the admissions, financial aid, provost, general counsel, dean of students and student conduct offices, as well as the Committee for Athletics and Recreation (CAR). Blais also manages and leads the sport administrator program for the department and works directly with women’s basketball and the women’s lacrosse program.
From February 2021 through April 2021 Blais served as the Interim Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation at Northwestern. In addition to her responsibilities in Evanston, Blais has been a leader in the broader landscape of college athletics in a variety of ways. In the summer of 2021, she was selected by the Women Leaders in College Sports Board of Directors (a board she has now been appointed to) to serve a three-year term as the Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) Appointee on the 24-seat NCAA Division I Board of Directors. Then in January of 2022 she was appointed to the 21-seat NCAA Division I Transformation Committee charged with providing recommendations to the NCAA Board of Directors that seeks to embrace forward-looking change during unprecedented times in intercollegiate athletics.
Blais works closely with the Title IX office on campus as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator involved with discrimination and harassment prevention. She also is a co-chair of the department’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and provides support to the diversity and inclusion initiatives created for the department.
Within the Big Ten, Blais serves on the Joint Group and Administrators Council and continues to be an active member within the conference serving on several subcommittees including the Sports Management Committee, Academics and Eligibility Committee and the Legislative Review Committee. She has also served on the Budget Review Committee, Compliance and Reinstatement Subcommittee, and the Drug Testing Review Subcommittee.
In 2015 Blais was appointed to the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Committee and served as chair of the committee in 2016-17 and 2017-18. In 2013, she was nominated by her peers and honored as the Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) Division I FBS Administrator of the Year, presented annually for significant contributions made in athletics administration.