I have no doubt that without Title IX, girls would not have even close to the sporting opportunities they have today.

Just look at the state of professional women's sports and you can see what the "free market" would do for our girls.

But on the eve of its 40th anniversary (It became law on June 23, 1972), it's important to note that Title IX is about more than sports. It's also about protecting female students from sexual assault, providing athletic opportunities for transgender students and making sure pregnant students have equal access to education.

In short, Title IX mandates that federally funded institutions may not exclude or discriminate from an educational program or activity on the basis of sex. The law leverages federal funds in order to require equal opportunity for men and women.

Here in Montana, it's still being used to fight for female students. The federal investigation launched into the University of Montana's handling of sexual assaults is being done under Title IX. And, in Butte, federal officials are investigating disparities between boys' baseball fields and girls' softball fields.

And by giving girls more access to sports, Title IX has also given them more career opportunities and the ability to earn better wages.

According to an article about Title IX in Forbes, economists have observed that participation in sports at a young age correlates to higher wages, greater educational attainment and overall professional success in adult life.

Happy birthday Title IX. You look better every year.