The Big Ten Conference’s decision to cancel its football season reverberated this week across Ohio, where the Buckeyes’ football program looms larger than that of any of the state’s major league sports franchises. A pillar of autumn Saturdays will be missing, and Mr. Kuchta and others in this football-mad corner of the state were looking for someone to blame.

“Trump just blew it,” Mr. Kuchta said, alluding to President Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. “He just didn’t handle it. He could have shut things down for five or six weeks and figured out what he was doing, but he never had a plan.”

For Mr. Trump, the cancellation of big-time college football in the Midwest and the West — the Pac-12 Conference also canceled its season Tuesday — serves as yet another unmistakable sign of how fundamentally the pandemic has transformed American life and cast a spotlight on his administration’s handling of the crisis. Critics point to South Korea, where fans have been attending professional baseball games for weeks, and to parts of Europe, where some soccer and tennis matches are open to spectators.