John Blake resigns from North Carolina

In the midst of an ongoing NCAA investigation into possible improper contact with agents and academic misconduct, North Carolina defensive line coach John Blake has resigned, effective immediately, the school announced Sunday evening.

Blake, who was reportedly a target of the NCAA's investigation into possible improper conduct with agents, was also the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator in his fourth season at North Carolina.

"While I have enjoyed my tenure at the University of North Carolina, it has become apparent to me over the course of the past few weeks that my presence has become a distraction to my family and to this great University, too," Blake said in a prepared statement.

"Consequently, I have determined that it is in the best interests of my family, the University community at large, and the Football Program for me to step down from my position as associate head football coach effective today, September 5, 2010."

Gary Wichard, an NFL agent and Blake's close friend, has made public statements saying Blake is involved in the investigation. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, North Carolina coach Butch Davis has also connected Blake to the investigation of defensive tackle Marvin Austin and receiver Greg Little for possible improper contact with sports agents.

"Coach Blake had indicated to me in previous conversations that he would step down if he felt his presence with the football program would become a distraction," UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said in a prepared statement. "I appreciate and respect his decision to do what is best for the University and our football program. I know the young men he coached are tremendously disappointed, but Coach Davis and his staff will help and support them as the season moves forward."

Blake's employment agreement with North Carolina provided him an annual base salary of $240,000 and would have expired June 30, 2011. He will receive $74,500, which approximates the salary he would have received had he completed the football season.

Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.