Noblesville resident Kristopher Loving, 34, recognizes the cost barrier to becoming a sports official. That’s why he created the nonprofit Save Our Sports, which provides resources for upcoming sports officials. He rebranded and relocated the nonprofit from Minnesota to Noblesville in 2022.
When a person becomes a member of the nonprofit, they receive mentoring; sports-specific training videos; fitness and nutrition resources; mental health and psychology resources; business resources; and a basketball and football starting package including clothing/accessories for the sports.
There are no out-of-pocket costs to be a member in the nonprofit. Members receive on-the-job training working at games without pay, and the money they would’ve been paid goes back to Save Our Sports. In exchange, members receive coaching and feedback.
Loving created the nonprofit because a friend helped him become a sports official when Loving couldn’t afford the necessary equipment. He also said he reaped the benefits from being a sports official in other areas of his life. He said he has been able to travel and network with others.
“All those things have just been so great in my life. I wanted to pay that forward and offer others the same opportunity,” he said.
Loving said he is most knowledgeable and comfortable with football, basketball and girls lacrosse but the goal is to help people officiate other sports.
“Many people are aware there’s an officiating crisis in the country, in every sport, every community,” Loving said. “And that’s affecting youth sports, high school sports, recreation sports, where people, kids and families are not able to play their games because there are not enough officials.”
He said his nonprofit is trying to address the crisis.
Bill Petrovic, a Carmel resident and one of Loving’s mentors at SCORE — an organization that provides mentors for small businesses — met with Loving once to hear about his idea and provide assistance. Petrovic said there is a need for Loving’s nonprofit.
“It’s kind of like everybody’s a winner,” Petrovic said. “If he can get some kids to get on the path of developing the skills that he could teach them about (refereeing) and if schools can get a flow of referees, that solves a problem that they’re having, and it goes all the way up the chain.
The (person refereeing) for the Colts, they had to start somewhere, and they had to go up the ladder, and he’s putting the bottom rungs on that ladder for people to get flowing into that process.”