Alabama received permission from Michigan State to opt out of a two-game series in 2016 and 2017 because of uncertainty surrounding the SEC schedule, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis confirmed in a text that Alabama requested the cancellation of the games that were to be played in Tuscaloosa in 2016 and in East Lansing in 2017.
"While disappointed, in the spirit of collegiality, we agreed to the request," Hollis told the Free Press.
The SEC is considering a move from eight conference games to nine in the future. The Big Ten has already approved a nine-game schedule and, because of that, Michigan State needed to dump one of its four scheduled non-conference games in 2016.
Hollis seemed to indicate, though, that he wanted to keep Alabama and unload possibly Eastern Michigan or Furman. Notre Dame is the other non-conference opponent on the Spartans' schedule.
Alabama's 2016 non-conference schedule is now wide open with no scheduled games.
"Michigan State graciously granted our request to cancel the games previously scheduled for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. We made the request due to the uncertainty of the conference football schedule in those years," Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said. "We are very appreciative of Michigan State's willingness to grant that request."
Alabama coach Nick Saban served as the head coach at Michigan State from 1995 to 1999.