The notes below are a compendium of information which is generally considered to be accurate. Many thanks to our Midwest deep throat for the undercover work he did putting all this together.
The Big Ten has not changed the terms of their "discussions" with Notre Dame It's all or nothing. The only thing they might do is help w/costs related to ND breaking contracts in order to enter the conference in '06. The Big Ten feels very secure with or without Notre Dame.
The Big East has a very lucrative five year phase-in offer on the table to Notre Dame. Basically they get a disproportionate share of TV, and their own bowl revenue, for a period of five years; if not Big East champs Notre Dame picks the bowl they want; possibly includes options to extend this phase-in arrangement longer under specific conditions (e.g., Notre Dame becomes National Champs in years 4 or 5 of the deal). Supposedly Notre Dame is interested if the Big East can land another "big name" football school (PSU?).
Now, here's what may have started the whole thing again. NBC may is balking on extending the current arrangement the Irish. As Notre Dame viewership is down ~20% year to date, NBC doesn't feel they should continue w/the flat $9 million per year. Instead NBC is offering a lower guarantee (figure unknown) with an upside based upon ratings. Supposedly Notre Dame could earn more than the $9 million if they hit certain thresholds. Naturally Notre Dame isn't liking this as the financial risk is substantial and the package potentially far less lucrative to them than exists through 2005.
Apparently this situation isn't as confidential as some might hope. Swofford/ACC got wind of this in October and re-offered to Notre Dame for all sports membership. Also, they may have leaked this interest to the press. Supposedly the deal (I'm not sure of the package specifics) is slightly sweeter money wise than that the BE has offered. I have been told that's Swofford's and the ACC's behavior in the BE raid, and this situation has not generated trust in them among The Big Ten, other conferences and Notre Dame. There is a sense that the ACC's behavior will contribute to an eventual government involvement in major conference activity.