VIENNA - A pivotal stage in the life of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference occurs Thursday when the league's Board of Directors meets for its annual leadership retreat in Charleston.
Nearly one month has passed since the announcement that nine members were leaving to form a new all-sports league beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.
"Needless to say, I think there will be some substantial information discussed," said Dennis Cox, who serves as senior vice-president and director of athletics at Ohio Valley University. "Personally, I will be disappointed if something positive doesn't come out of it."
The schools indicating their desire to exit happen be the same ones who represent the WVIAC in football - Charleston, Concord, Fairmont State, Glenville State, Seton Hill, Shepherd, West Liberty, West Virginia State and West Virginia Wesleyan.
Last week, board members from eight member institutions -including three schools intending to leave - met in Princeton and according to a WVIAC release "reaffirmed their commitment to rebuild the WVIAC in a way that makes sure that it meets the needs of its members and collectively will strive to continue the unity of the conference which has been a characteristic of the conference since its inception in 1924."
Cox was encouraged by the effort being made to keep the WVIAC intact in some shape or form.
"It tells me that everyone wants to find a way to be cooperative, and that's why I am looking forward to the outcome of Thursday's meeting," Cox said. "It's pretty obvious that some differences have to be ironed out. There are reasons to be optimistic and the meeting last week is a sign of good things."
Among the schools represented in Princeton were OVU and Alderson-Broaddus, which has broken ground on a football facility and will begin the program as a club sport this year and is expected to become an NCAA Division II program in 2013.
"For this week, everybody has their own objectives - it's not just this school versus that school and it's a mistake for people to believe that," Cox continued. "Our allegiances are to the West Virginia Conference and to the commitment of its survival."