eFuse accepts resignation of controversial C-level hire

Esports platform eFuse has accepted the resignation of its Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Klein amidst sexual misconduct allegations, NCAA policy breaches and renewed community backlash.

US student athletics regulator NCAA released findings in April that found Klein, who previously worked as a women’s basketball coach for Ohio State University, had committed Level I (severe breach of conduct) violations during his role.

eFuse social network
Image credit: eFuse

The NCAA reportedly found Klein “initiated contact with student-athletes with the goal of forming personal relationships that exceeded coaching/student-athlete relationships,” according to local outlet Springfield News-Sun.

It comes after an investigation by Ohio State University found in 2020 that Klein violated the university’s Sexual Misconduct policy. “Patrick Klein’s behaviour directed towards at least 13 student-athletes consisted of a pervasive pattern of conduct that was reasonably perceived to be sexual in nature”, the investigation’s case report said. 

It concluded that Klein engaged in ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature‘ while working as a women’s basketball coach.

The misconduct allegations and Ohio State’s ongoing investigation were public knowledge when eFuse hired Klein in 2019. eFuse told Sports Business Journal earlier in April that the company was aware of Klein’s previous resignation when hiring him, and that Klein had ‘accepted accountability for what happened’. No instances of wrongdoing have been reported while Klein has worked at eFuse.

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Patrick Klein resigned from his position as a coach for Ohio State’s women’s basketball team in August 2019 after being put on administrative leave following accusations of sexual misconduct and NCAA policy violations. eFuse hired Klein in October 2019, two months after his resignation.

In a public statement released last week, eFuse said: “We demand unwavering integrity from all our team members, leadership, and partners. We stand by our commitment to create an environment that is inclusive for all.

“We must maintain our focus on creating a world where any person can change their life through gaming. Although there has not been a single reported instance of concern at eFuse, eFuse has accepted the resignation of Patrick Klein.”

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