Published On: Fri, Apr 17th, 2020

FAU Athletics will host 2020 Owlspys awards show virtually

Photo provided by FAU Athletics

From the football team winning their second Conference USA championship in school history to the basketball team advancing past the first round of the C-USA tournament for the first time since 2016, and even the baseball team defeating sixth ranked University of Miami, the 2019-2020 athletic year for the Florida Atlantic University Owls was one to remember, despite the coronavirus pandemic ending some competition early.

These teams’ accomplishments, as well as many others, will be recognized on Wednesday, April 22 at 6 p.m. during FAU’s annual Owlspys award show that will take place for the sixth consecutive year. On top of the awards, the event will also feature videos of some of the athletes, as well as skits and jokes to bring light to a dark and uncertain time. 

“It’s one of the biggest events of the year for our student athletes and something they really look forward to,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White said. “It’s kind of like half Oscars and half Espys, so obviously given the current climate, it’s not a safe environment to have an in-person event like we’ve done in years past.”

As the Owlspys will be streamed from the FAU Athletics Facebook page, the university’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee will be sponsoring the event, where the committee’s president and captain of the swimming and diving team, Kelsey Witkay, will lead the event and men’s cross country’s Sean Barone and women’s volleyball’s Sydney Riggs will act as the hosts from their own homes.

While the event will mostly focus on recognizing the achievements of student athletes’ roles in the sport they played, it will also recognize those who have excelled outside of their particular sport, such as academic achievements and work in the Boca Raton community.

“[The Owlspys] is a great celebration of what it means to be a student athlete and that’s not just the athletic component,” White said. “There’s just a great comradery of our 450 plus student athletes across 19 sports and it’s really great to see what athletics has done to help their time at FAU and enhance their enjoyment.”

Even with some of the winter sports not able to finish competing in C-USA tournaments and spring sports not able to finish their seasons as a whole, awards will still be assessed on the games that were played before cancellations. According to White, every component of each sport will be considered to deliver a supportive and enjoyable event, especially for the senior athletes, who are expected to graduate either after this semester or the summer semester.

“I remember shortly after the C-USA basketball tournament was cancelled that we got on a plane and a couple of our senior basketball student athletes had tears in their eyes,” White said. You could see the emotion and you just feel sad for [every senior athlete] because for many, this was the pinnacle of their athletic career.”

To watch the Owlspys live, the link can be found here and one can share their thoughts and follow along on social media by using the hashtag #OWLSPYS20. The event will also be re-aired on on April 23

“We’re all in a mode where we’re looking for entertainment, so  I’m sure we can all take a night off Netflix with something locally more relevant,” White said. “Carole Baskin will be just fine to put off for a different day.”

About the Author

Justin Baronoff - Justin Baronoff is currently a junior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. He is pursuing a major in Multimedia Journalism, where he hopes to some day write for major news media publications, such as the New York Times, ESPN, or even Billboard Magazine. In high school, Justin wrote for his high school newspaper for three years where he was a staff reporter for the first two years before becoming the Sports Editor in his final year. At FAU during the first semester of his sophomore year, he began interning for, where he wrote about and covered his favorite professional football team, the New York Jets, and his favorite professional basketball team, the New York Knicks. Then during his second semester of his sophomore year, he began writing for FAU's student newspaper, the University Press, as a contributing writer. Justin now serves a News Writer Intern for the Boca Raton Tribune.

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