HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP — Isabel Cox walks into the lavish women’s soccer team locker room at the University of North Carolina and takes her place among what appears to be a pantheon of athletic achievement. After all, the Tar Heels’ 21 soccer championships are more than half the 40 ever contested.

But that last number is significant – because it was 50 years ago that what appeared to be a subtle change to the 1964 Civil Rights law began a tsunami of growth for women in athletics.

Title IX as it’s known wasn’t designed to revolutionize athletic opportunities for women. It was about access to education, in general. When it came into being on June 23, 1972, a majority of college students were men and more than 85% of college athletes were men. Now, roughly 60% of college students are women and nearly half of college athletes are women.

Isabel’s mother, Jennifer, was one of the pioneers, as a heptathlete at the University of Alabama and Isabel is aware of what she has that her mother’s generation didn’t.

“Just in the place we’re sitting right now, my mom’s would never, in a million years, have this nice a locker room, this nice of equipment and facilities to use,” Isabel says, as she gives a tour of the UNC women’s soccer locker room. “I think it’s definitely has changed so much even in the recent years from when Title IX first started, 50 years ago – I think there was still a lot of work to do to get the women to be equal with the men when it first came out. I mean, now, I think we’re actually even with the pro teams, women are starting to get equal pay and starting to get more TV time, like, we’re finally getting on ESPN.”

That’s part of why when most Americans think of Title IX, they think of opportunities for girls and women in sports. But that’s beginning to change.

“It depends on your age,” says Murphie Chappell, who played college sports herself and is now the Title IX coordinator at UNC-Greensboro. “So, I think folks that are my generation and older, we think of Title IX and we think about women’s sports. But, if you talk to college students, today, they’re going to think about Title IX a little bit differently. They’re going to recognize that sexual harassment has no place in education and that Title IX has a role in ensuring that everyone has equal access to their education, so I don’t think it’s getting lost, anymore. And I think ever since about 2011 when the Dear Colleague letter went out to colleges and universities, reminding them of our responsibilities under Title IX, things started to change.”

Chrystal Clodomir is an attorney who specializes in education law and a professor at Elon Law School. Even though she focuses much more on the education side of Title IX, she understands the focus on athletics.

“We’re a culture that loves our sports so as soon as sports become the thing that we’re talking about, we start associating whatever it is with sports and I think that for female students, today, it’s very normal – Title IX has normalized athletics for them,” says Clodomir. I think that even though that’s what’s on the surface – what we see the most – it has deeper and more far-reaching consequences that people feel in more subtle ways than athletics.”

Since she’s an expert in this area, I asked Professor Clodomir if she were around at the beginning of all this, what she’d like to see in the law.

“I don’t know that I would have changed it in 1972 but it is definitely going to need some tweaking, as we move forward. I don’t think Title IX – at the time – I don’t think it was in our conversation how it would affect transgender people.”

UNCG’s Murhpie Chappell hopes that the young people of today – men, women, girls and boys – appreciate what they have and see the responsibility to continue to, “move the ball forward,” if you will.

“We’re still not there and I think there are a lot of people who would argue that we don’t need Title IX anymore because they’re the beneficiaries of what the folks and the activists did before we came, so we’re standing on the shoulder of those who came before us,” says Chappell.

See more on the anniversary of Title IX in this edition of the Buckley Report.