Florida-based attorney William H. Beaver II said Wichard was trying to help Blake, who encountered financial trouble after being fired as the head coach at Oklahoma a dozen years ago.

Beaver wouldn’t specify how much money and said no funds were provided in the past 3 years or so, roughly around the same time that Blake was preparing for his first season with Butch Davis and the Tar Heels.

“Regardless of the loans or the amounts, there was nothing wrong with one good friend assisting another,” Beaver said yesterday.

The school learned of the financial transactions – first reported by Yahoo! Sports – when Blake met Aug. 31 with NCAA investigators looking into agent-related benefits and possible academic violations in the football program.

The reports of the loans overshadowed news yesterday that safety Da’Norris Searcy had been cleared to play in tomorrow’s game against East Carolina, leaving the Tar Heels (1-2) with nine players whose status remains in question due to the ongoing probe.

In a statement, athletic director Dick Baddour said that the financial transactions weren’t a violation or cause for the school to fire Blake in and of themselves.

“Nevertheless, we weren’t comfortable with what we learned,” said Baddour, and Blake resigned less than a week later while saying he had become a distraction.

Davis said he didn’t know about Wichard’s loans when he hired Blake. He also said he wouldn’t resign despite a review that has bruised the school’s reputation both academically and athletically.

“Certainly, I’m disappointed that a lot of these things have happened,” Davis said. “You clearly wish that they hadn’t happened, and we’re going to do everything that we can in the future to ensure that they don’t happen again.”

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