Head coach Mark Dantonio said Copeland wasn't "thrown off the team," but he did confirm that he was no longer a part of the program. Dantonio said he didn't want to get into details about Copeland's exit.
"There are certain things you have to be able to make as you process through from your junior to senior (year)," he said. "... I wish him the best, but our hands are tied on that."
Copeland played in seven games last year before a foot injury ended his season. He suffered a fractured neck after playing in the first two games of his redshirt freshman year in 2015.
Dantonio also announced Tuesday he was promoting offensive line coach Mark Staten to assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.
Staten took a recruiting leadership role in early February when former staff member Curtis Blackwell was suspended in connection with a sexual assault investigation. Dantonio also cited Staten's work in community outreach as a reason for why he was given an assistant head coach title.
Blackwell was let go at the end of May.
Former Detroit Lions front office member Sheldon White will also help with the team's recruiting moving forward. He has a son who is a freshman at Michigan State this fall and started working with the program as a personnel consultant a year ago. He is now the team's director of player personnel, which means he'll evaluate current players and plays a lead role in organizing recruiting.
A dozen members of the team with remaining eligibility have left the program since January for a variety of reasons that range from felony charges to NFL draft entrees to leaving football in general.
The status for a couple more players remains in question as players return to campus this week for summer workouts.
Senior defensive lineman Demetrius Cooper remains suspended after allegedly breaking the terms of his bond. He was originally brought to court for allegedly spitting in a police officer's face last fall.
Dantonio said he has not made a final decision yet on Cooper's future with the team.
Junior cornerback Tyson Smith suffered a stroke at some point last year. He tweeted earlier this week that he hoped to be cleared medically this month, but it's not clear if and when he'll be able to play again.
"I have my concerns about whether he's able to play again or not, but that's an ongoing process," Dantonio said. "He's been a good player for us but I don't want to really speak to his medical situation."
Lastly, Dantonio said that lineman Cassius Peat will not be part of the team in 2017. Peat originally enrolled at Michigan State in 2015. He left the program in August, but he planned to return this summer.
Peat told the Detroit Free Press he was "blindsided" last week when the coaching staff told him he no longer had a spot on the team.
"We've been in contact with Cassius throughout the semester," Dantonio said. "There are certain things you have to get done before you get back. It's one of those things, but I don't want to speak bad about anybody."