In the turbulent weeks since the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced that it would shutter its Division I football program, rallies and protests have erupted on campus, powerful donors have threatened to withhold their support, and the faculty senate approved a resolution of no confidence in President Ray L. Watts’s ability to lead the university.

The message was delivered: Football is a serious matter in Alabama. And up against a wave of opposition, Watts and U.A.B. have cracked open the door for a potential reinstatement of the football program in 2016.

A task force is reviewing the finances of the athletic department, which has two-thirds of its $30 million operating budget subsidized by the university, and reappraising the findings from an independent consulting company, CarrSports, that led to the decision to drop football. The task force will make recommendations, but the university reserves the right to decide whether football is feasible.