Self says Billy Preston’s status unchanged

Jayhawks preparing to play without their freshman forward Friday night

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest.

The Kansas men’s basketball team went into Thursday’s practice preparing to play Friday’s game against South Dakota State without Billy Preston as the university sorts through a compliance issue.

After missing KU’s season opener a week ago to serve a one-game suspension after missing curfew and class, Preston sat out the Kentucky game Tuesday night in Chicago because of a compliance issue involving a vehicle he was driving during a single-car, no-injury accident last weekend.

KU coach Bill Self said after Tuesday’s victory that Preston would remain sidelined until the issue was cleared up. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, it had not been resolved.

“The update is there’s no update,” Self said before Thursday’s practice. “I was just with our administration and there hasn’t been a conclusion to it. I still anticipate it being (resolved) sooner rather than later, but it’s not yet.”

A KU official on Wednesday confirmed that Preston hit a curb along 19th Street during the middle of the day on Saturday. The accident resulted in damage to his car’s tires, but a police report wasn’t filed given the nature of the incident and that no other vehicles were involved.

On Wednesday morning, a Journal-World reporter observed a late-model Dodge Charger in the parking lot of the men’s basketball dorm on campus. The car, with temporary Florida tags, had damage to two tires and scuff marks. It could not be confirmed, however, whether this was the vehicle involved in the accident. Preston, a freshman from Inglewood, Calif., started high school in Los Angeles, later moving to Texas and then Virginia before coming to Kansas.

KU officials have been mum on what issue the compliance department is reviewing, other than it wants to obtain “a clearer financial picture specific to the vehicle.” Compliance officers can review many matters, including whether players have received gifts or other items that would be an impermissible benefit under NCAA rules.

Asked if he knew whether the car Preston was driving is registered to him or a family member, Self said, “I can’t comment on any of that stuff, but when we have a resolution to it, we’ll be sure to let you know.”

Preston did not learn he would miss the Kentucky game until a little more than four hours before tipoff on Tuesday. His status remains uncertain for Friday’s game.

“We have to prepare like we’re not going to have him, and then it would be a bonus if you did,” Self said. “But we’ll certainly prepare like we’re not going to. Against Kentucky, we prepared like we were going to have him, so that will be a little bit different. But we didn’t practice (Wednesday), so our preparation will be just what happens today.”

Preston was expected to practice with teammates Thursday.

“I haven’t heard anything to the contrary there,” Self said. “Nobody’s declared him ineligible or anything like that … But we’re definitely going to hold him until we get to the bottom of this.”